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Medieval and Classical Library

The Fall of Troy

How from his long lone exile returned to the war Philoctetes.

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #18b

     When ended was night's darkness, and the Dawn
     Rose from the world's verge, and the wide air glowed
     With splendour, then did Argos' warrior-sons
     Gaze o'er the plain; and lo, all cloudless-clear
     Stood Ilium's towers.  The marvel of yesterday
     Seemed a strange dream.  No thought the Trojans had
     Of standing forth to fight without the wall.
     A great fear held them thralls, the awful thought
     That yet alive was Peleus' glorious son.
10   But to the King of Heaven Antenor cried:
     "Zeus, Lord of Ida and the starry sky,
     Hearken my prayer!  Oh turn back from our town
     That battle-eager murderous-hearted man,
     Be he Achilles who hath not passed down
     To Hades, or some other like to him.
     For now in heaven-descended Priam's burg
     By thousands are her people perishing:
     No respite cometh from calamity:
     Murder and havoc evermore increase.
20   O Father Zeus, thou carest not though we
     Be slaughtered of our foes: thou helpest them,
     Forgetting thy son, godlike Dardanus!
     But, if this be the purpose of thine heart
     That Argives shall destroy us wretchedly,
     Now do it: draw not out our agony!"

     In passionate prayer he cried; and Zeus from heaven
     Hearkened, and hasted on the end of all,
     Which else he had delayed.  He granted him
     This awful boon, that myriads of Troy's sons
30   Should with their children perish: but that prayer
     He granted not, to turn Achilles' son
     Back from the wide-wayed town; nay, all the more
     He enkindled him to war, for he would now
     Give grace and glory to the Nereid Queen.

     So purposed he, of all Gods mightiest.
     But now between the city and Hellespont
     Were Greeks and Trojans burning men and steeds
     In battle slain, while paused the murderous strife.
     For Priam sent his herald Menoetes forth
40   To Agamemnon and the Achaean chiefs,
     Asking a truce wherein to burn the dead;
     And they, of reverence for the slain, gave ear;
     For wrath pursueth not the dead.  And when
     They had lain their slain on those close-thronging pyres,
     Then did the Argives to their tents return,
     And unto Priam's gold-abounding halls
     The Trojans, for Eurypylus sorrowing sore:
     For even as Priam's sons they honoured him.
     Therefore apart from all the other slain,
50   Before the Gate Dardanian -- where the streams
     Of eddying Xanthus down from Ida flow
     Fed by the rains of heavens -- they buried him.

     Aweless Achilles' son the while went forth
     To his sire's huge tomb.  Outpouring tears, he kissed
     The tall memorial pillar of the dead,
     And groaning clasped it round, and thus he cried:
     "Hail, father!  Though beneath the earth thou lie
     In Hades' halls, I shall forget thee not.
     Oh to have met thee living mid the host!
60   Then of each other had our souls had joy,
     Then of her wealth had we spoiled Ilium.
     But now, thou hast not seen thy child, nor I
     Seen thee, who yearned to look on thee in life.
     Yet, though thou be afar amidst the dead,
     Thy spear, thy son, have made thy foes to quail;
     And Danaans with exceeding joy behold
     One like to thee in stature, fame and deeds."

     He spake, and wiped the hot tears from his face;
     And to his father's ships passed swiftly thence:
70   With him went Myrmidon warriors two and ten,
     And white-haired Phoenix followed on with these
     Woefully sighing for the glorious dead.

     Night rose o'er earth, the stars flashed out in heaven;
     So these brake bread, and slept till woke the Dawn.
     Then the Greeks donned their armour: flashed afar
     Its splendour up to the very firmament.
     Forth of their gates in one great throng they poured,
     Like snowflakes thick and fast, which drift adown
     Heavily from the clouds in winter's cold;
80   So streamed they forth before the wall, and rose
     Their dread shout: groaned the deep earth 'neath their

     The Trojans heard that shout, and saw that host,
     And marvelled.  Crushed with fear were all their hearts
     Foreboding doom; for like a huge cloud seemed
     That throng of foes: with clashing arms they came:
     Volumed and vast the dust rose 'neath their feet.
     Then either did some God with hardihood thrill
     Deiphobus' heart, and made it void of fear,
     Or his own spirit spurred him on to fight,
90   To drive by thrust of spear that terrible host
     Of foemen from the city of his birth.
     So there in Troy he cried with heartening speech:
     "O friends, be stout of heart to play the men!
     Remember all the agonies that war
     Brings in the end to them that yield to foes.
     Ye wrestle not for Alexander alone,
     Nor Helen, but for home, for your own lives,
     For wives, for little ones, for parents grey,
     For all the grace of life, for all ye have,
100  For this dear land -- oh may she shroud me o'er
     Slain in the battle, ere I see her lie
     'Neath foemen's spears -- my country!  I know not
     A bitterer pang than this for hapless men!
     O be ye strong for battle!  Forth to the fight
     With me, and thrust this horror far away!
     Think not Achilles liveth still to war
     Against us: him the ravening fire consumed.
     Some other Achaean was it who so late
     Enkindled them to war.  Oh, shame it were
110  If men who fight for fatherland should fear
     Achilles' self, or any Greek beside!
     Let us not flinch from war-toil!  have we not
     Endured much battle-travail heretofore?
     What, know ye not that to men sorely tried
     Prosperity and joyance follow toil?
     So after scourging winds and ruining storms
     Zeus brings to men a morn of balmy air;
     After disease new strength comes, after war
     Peace: all things know Time's changeless law of change."

120  Then eager all for war they armed themselves
     In haste.  All through the town rang clangour of arms
     As for grim fight strong men arrayed their limbs.
     Here stood a wife, shuddering with dread of war,
     Yet piling, as she wept, her husband's arms
     Before his feet.  There little children brought
     To a father his war-gear with eager haste;
     And now his heart was wrung to hear their sobs,
     And now he smiled on those small ministers,
     And stronger waxed his heart's resolve to fight
130  To the last gasp for these, the near and dear.
     Yonder again, with hands that had not lost
     Old cunning, a grey father for the fray
     Girded a son, and murmured once and again:
     "Dear boy, yield thou to no man in the war!"
     And showed his son the old scars on his breast,
     Proud memories of fights fought long ago.

     So when they all stood mailed in battle-gear,
     Forth of the gates they poured all eager-souled
     For war.  Against the chariots of the Greeks
140  Their chariots charged; their ranks of footmen pressed
     To meet the footmen of the foe.  The earth
     Rang to the tramp of onset; pealed the cheer
     From man to man; swift closed the fronts of war.
     Loud clashed their arms all round; from either side
     War-cries were mingled in one awful roar
     Swift-winged full many a dart and arrow flew
     From host to host; loud clanged the smitten shields
     'Neath thrusting spears. neath javelin-point and sword:
     Men hewed with battle-axes lightening down;
150  Crimson the armour ran with blood of men.
     And all this while Troy's wives and daughters watched
     From high walls that grim battle of the strong.
     All trembled as they prayed for husbands, sons,
     And brothers: white-haired sires amidst them sat,
     And gazed, while anguished fear for sons devoured
     Their hearts.  But Helen in her bower abode
     Amidst her maids, there held by utter shame.

     So without pause before the wall they fought,
     While Death exulted o'er them; deadly Strife
160  Shrieked out a long wild cry from host to host.
     With blood of slain men dust became red mire:
     Here, there, fast fell the warriors mid the fray.

     Then slew Deiphobus the charioteer
     Of Nestor, Hippasus' son: from that high car
     Down fell he 'midst the dead; fear seized his lord
     Lest, while his hands were cumbered with the reins,
     He too by Priam's strong son might be slain.
     Melanthius marked his plight: swiftly he sprang
     Upon the car; he urged the horses on,
170  Shaking the reins, goading them with his spear,
     Seeing the scourge was lost.  But Priam's son
     Left these, and plunged amid a throng of foes.
     There upon many he brought the day of doom;
     For like a ruining tempest on he stormed
     Through reeling ranks.  His mighty hand struck down
     Foes numberless: the plain was heaped with dead.

     As when a woodman on the long-ridged hills
     Plunges amid the forest-depths, and hews
     With might and main, and fells sap-laden trees
180  To make him store of charcoal from the heaps
     Of billets overturfed and set afire:
     The trunks on all sides fallen strew the slopes,
     While o'er his work the man exulteth; so
     Before Deiphobus' swift death-dealing hands
     In heaps the Achaeans each on other fell.
     The charging lines of Troy swept over some;
     Some fled to Xanthus' stream: Deiphobus chased
     Into the flood yet more, and slew and slew.
     As when on fish-abounding Hellespont's strand
190  The fishermen hard-straining drag a net
     Forth of the depths to land; but, while it trails
     Yet through the sea, one leaps amid the waves
     Grasping in hand a sinuous-headed spear
     To deal the sword-fish death, and here and there,
     Fast as he meets them, slays them, and with blood
     The waves are reddened; so were Xanthus' streams
     Impurpled by his hands, and choked with dead.

     Yet not without sore loss the Trojans fought;
     For all this while Peleides' fierce-heart son
200  Of other ranks made havoc.  Thetis gazed
     Rejoicing in her son's son, with a joy
     As great as was her grief for Achilles slain.
     For a great host beneath his spear were hurled
     Down to the dust, steeds, warriors slaughter-blent.
     And still he chased, and still he slew: he smote
     Amides war-renowned, who on his steed
     Bore down on him, but of his horsemanship
     Small profit won.  The bright spear pierced him through
     From navel unto spine, and all his bowels
210  Gushed out, and deadly Doom laid hold on him
     Even as he fell beside his horse's feet.
     Ascanius and Oenops next he slew;
     Under the fifth rib of the one he drave
     His spear, the other stabbed he 'neath the throat
     Where a wound bringeth surest doom to man.
     Whomso he met besides he slew -- the names
     What man could tell of all that by the hands
     Of Neoptolemus died?  Never his limbs
     Waxed weary.  As some brawny labourer,
220  With strong hands toiling in a fruitful field
     The livelong day, rains down to earth the fruit
     Of olives, swiftly beating with his pole,
     And with the downfall covers all the ground,
     So fast fell 'neath his hands the thronging foe.

     Elsewhere did Agamemnon, Tydeus' son,
     And other chieftains of the Danaans toil
     With fury in the fight.  Yet never quailed
     The mighty men of Troy: with heart and soul
     They also fought, and ever stayed from flight
230  Such as gave back.  Yet many heeded not
     Their chiefs, but fled, cowed by the Achaeans' might.

     Now at the last Achilles' strong son marked
     How fast beside Scamander's outfall Greeks
     Were perishing.  Those Troyward-fleeing foes
     Whom he had followed slaying, left he now,
     And bade Automedon thither drive, where hosts
     Were falling of the Achaeans.  Straightway he
     Hearkened, and scourged the steeds immortal on
     To that wild fray: bearing their lord they flew
240  Swiftly o'er battle-highways paved with death.

     As Ares chariot-borne to murderous war
     Fares forth, and round his onrush quakes the ground,
     While on the God's breast clash celestial arms
     Outflashing fire, so charged Achilles' son
     Against Deiphobus.  Clouds of dust upsoared
     About his horses' feet.  Automedon marked
     The Trojan chief, and knew him.  To his lord
     Straightway he named that hero war-renowned:
     "My king, this is Deiphobus' array --
250  The man who from thy father fled in fear.
     Some God or fiend with courage fills him now."

     Naught answered Neoptolemus, save to bid
     Drive on the steeds yet faster, that with speed
     He might avert grim death from perishing friends.
     But when to each other now full nigh they drew,
     Deiphobus, despite his battle-lust,
     Stayed, as a ravening fire stays when it meets
     Water.  He marvelled, seeing Achilles' steeds
     And that gigantic son, huge as his sire;
260  And his heart wavered, choosing now to flee,
     And now to face that hero, man to man
     As when a mountain boar from his young brood
     Chases the jackals -- then a lion leaps
     From hidden ambush into view: the boar
     Halts in his furious onset, loth to advance,
     Loth to retreat, while foam his jaws about
     His whetted tusks; so halted Priam's son
     Car-steeds and car, perplexed, while quivered his hands
     About the lance.  Shouted Achilles' son:
270  "Ho, Priam's son, why thus so mad to smite
     Those weaker Argives, who have feared thy wrath
     And fled thine onset?  So thou deem'st thyself
     Far mightiest!  If thine heart be brave indeed,
     Of my spear now make trial in the strife."

     On rushed he, as a lion against a stag,
     Borne by the steeds and chariot of his sire.
     And now full soon his lance had slain his foe,
     Him and his charioteer -- but Phoebus poured
     A dense cloud round him from the viewless heights
280  Of heaven, and snatched him from the deadly fray,
     And set him down in Troy, amid the rout
     Of fleeing Trojans: so did Peleus' son
     Stab but the empty air; and loud he cried:
     "Dog, thou hast 'scaped my wrath!  No might of thine
     Saved thee, though ne'er so fain!  Some God hath cast
     Night's veil o'er thee, and snatched thee from thy death."

     Then Cronos' Son dispersed that dense dark cloud:
     Mist-like it thinned and vanished into air:
     Straightway the plain and all the land were seen.
290  Then far away about the Scaean Gate
     He saw the Trojans: seeming like his sire,
     He sped against them; they at his coming quailed.
     As shipmen tremble when a wild wave bears
     Down on their bark, wind-heaved until it swings
     Broad, mountain-high above them, when the sea
     Is mad with tempest; so, as on he came,
     Terror clad all those Trojans as a cloak,
     The while he shouted, cheering on his men:
     "Hear, friends! -- fill full your hearts with dauntless
300  The strength that well beseemeth mighty men
     Who thirst to win them glorious victory,
     To win renown from battle's tumult!  Come,
     Brave hearts, now strive we even beyond our strength
     Till we smite Troy's proud city, till we win
     Our hearts' desire!  Foul shame it were to abide
     Long deedless here and strengthless, womanlike!
     Ere I be called war-blencher, let me die!"

     Then unto Ares' work their spirits flamed.
     Down on the Trojans charged they: yea, and these
310  Fought with high courage, round their city now,
     And now from wall and gate-towers.  Never lulled
     The rage of war, while Trojan hearts were hot
     To hurl the foemen back, and the strong Greeks
     To smite the town: grim havoc compassed all.

     Then, eager for the Trojans' help, swooped down
     Out of Olympus, cloaked about with clouds,
     The son of Leto.  Mighty rushing winds
     Bare him in golden armour clad; and gleamed
     With lightning-splendour of his descent the long
320  Highways of air.  His quiver clashed; loud rang
     The welkin; earth re-echoed, as he set
     His tireless feet by Xanthus.  Pealed his shout
     Dreadly, with courage filling them of Troy,
     Scaring their foes from biding the red fray.
     But of all this the mighty Shaker of Earth
     Was ware: he breathed into the fainting
     Greeks Fierce valour, and the fight waxed murderous
     Through those Immortals' clashing wills.  Then died
     Hosts numberless on either side.  In wrath
330  Apollo thought to smite Achilles' son
     In the same place where erst he smote his sire;
     But birds of boding screamed to left, to stay
     His mood, and other signs from heaven were sent;
     Yet was his wrath not minded to obey
     Those portents.  Swiftly drew Earth-shaker nigh
     In mist celestial cloaked: about his feet
     Quaked the dark earth as came the Sea-king on.
     Then, to stay Phoebus' hand, he cried to him:
     "Refrain thy wrath: Achilles' giant son
340  Slay not!  Olympus' Lord himself shall be
     Wroth for his death, and bitter grief shall light
     On me and all the Sea-gods, as erstwhile
     For Achilles' sake.  Nay, get thee back to heights
     Celestial, lest thou kindle me to wrath,
     And so I cleave a sudden chasm in earth,
     And Ilium and all her walls go down
     To darkness.  Thine own soul were vexed thereat."

     Then, overawed by the brother of his sire,
     And fearing for Troy's fate and for her folk,
350  To heaven went back Apollo, to the sea
     Poseidon.  But the sons of men fought on,
     And slew; and Strife incarnate gloating watched.

     At last by Calchas' counsel Achaea's sons
     Drew back to the ships, and put from them the thought
     Of battle, seeing it was not foreordained
     That Ilium should fall until the might
     Of war-wise Philoctetes came to aid
     The Achaean host.  This had the prophet learnt.
     From birds of prosperous omen, or had read
360  In hearts of victims.  Wise in prophecy-lore
     Was he, and like a God knew things to be.

     Trusting in him, the sons of Atreus stayed
     Awhile the war, and unto Lemnos, land
     Of stately mansions, sent they Tydeus' son
     And battle-staunch Odysseus oversea.
     Fast by the Fire-god's city sped they on
     Over the broad flood of the Aegean Sea
     To vine-clad Lemnos, where in far-off days
     The wives wreaked murderous vengeance on their lords,
370  In fierce wrath that they gave them not their due,
     But couched beside the handmaid-thralls of Thrace,
     The captives of their spears when they laid waste
     The land of warrior Thracians.  Then these wives,
     Their hearts with fiery jealousy's fever filled,
     Murdered in every home with merciless hands
     Their husbands: no compassion would they show
     To their own wedded lords -- such madness shakes
     The heart of man or woman, when it burns
     With jealousy's fever, stung by torturing pangs.
380  So with souls filled with desperate hardihood
     In one night did they slaughter all their lords;
     And on a widowed nation rose the sun.

     To hallowed Lemnos came those heroes twain;
     They marked the rocky cave where lay the son
     Of princely Poeas.  Horror came on them
     When they beheld the hero of their quest
     Groaning with bitter pangs, on the hard earth
     Lying, with many feathers round him strewn,
     And others round his body, rudely sewn
390  Into a cloak, a screen from winter's cold.
     For, oft as famine stung him, would he shoot
     The shaft that missed no fowl his aim had doomed.
     Their flesh he ate, their feathers vestured him.
     And there lay herbs and healing leaves, the which,
     Spread on his deadly wound, assuaged its pangs.
     Wild tangled elf-locks hung about his head.
     He seemed a wild beast, that hath set its foot,
     Prowling by night, upon a hidden trap,
     And so hath been constrained in agony
400  To bite with fierce teeth through the prisoned limb
     Ere it could win back to its cave, and there
     In hunger and torturing pains it languisheth.
     So in that wide cave suffering crushed the man;
     And all his frame was wasted: naught but skin
     Covered his bones.  Unwashen there he crouched
     With famine-haggard cheeks, with sunken eyes
     Glaring his misery 'neath cavernous brows.
     Never his groaning ceased, for evermore
     The ulcerous black wound, eating to the bone,
410  Festered with thrills of agonizing pain.
     As when a beetling cliff, by seething seas
     Aye buffeted, is carved and underscooped,
     For all its stubborn strength, by tireless waves,
     Till, scourged by winds and lashed by tempest-flails,
     The sea into deep caves hath gnawed its base;
     So greater 'neath his foot grew evermore
     The festering wound, dealt when the envenomed fangs
     Tare him of that fell water-snake, which men
     Say dealeth ghastly wounds incurable,
420  When the hot sun hath parched it as it crawls
     Over the sands; and so that mightiest man
     Lay faint and wasted with his cureless pain;
     And from the ulcerous wound aye streamed to earth
     Fetid corruption fouling all the floor
     Of that wide cave, a marvel to be heard
     Of men unborn.  Beside his stony bed
     Lay a long quiver full of arrows, some
     For hunting, some to smite his foes withal;
     With deadly venom of that fell water-snake
430  Were these besmeared.  Before it, nigh to his hand,
     Lay the great bow, with curving tips of horn,
     Wrought by the mighty hands of Hercules.

     Now when that solitary spied these twain
     Draw nigh his cave, he sprang to his bow, he laid
     The deadly arrow on the string; for now
     Fierce memory of his wrongs awoke against
     These, who had left him years agone, in pain
     Groaning upon the desolate sea-shore.
     Yea, and his heart's stem will he had swiftly wrought,
440  But, even as upon that godlike twain
     He gazed, Athena caused his bitter wrath
     To melt away.  Then drew they nigh to him
     With looks of sad compassion, and sat down
     On either hand beside him in the cave,
     And of his deadly wound and grievous pangs
     Asked; and he told them all his sufferings.
     And they spake hope and comfort; and they said:
     "Thy woeful wound, thine anguish, shall be healed,
     If thou but come with us to Achaea's host --
450  The host that now is sorrowing after thee
     With all its kings.  And no man of them all
     Was cause of thine affliction, but the Fates,
     The cruel ones, whom none that walk the earth
     Escape, but aye they visit hapless men
     Unseen; and day by day with pitiless hearts
     Now they afflict men, now again exalt
     To honour -- none knows why; for all the woes
     And all the joys of men do these devise
     After their pleasure."  Hearkening he sat
460  To Odysseus and to godlike Diomede;
     And all the hoarded wrath for olden wrongs
     And all the torturing rage, melted away.

     Straight to the strand dull-thundering and the ship,
     Laughing for joy, they bare him with his bow.
     There washed they all his body and that foul wound
     With sponges, and with plenteous water bathed:
     So was his soul refreshed.  Then hasted they
     And made meat ready for the famished man,
     And in the galley supped with him.  Then came
470  The balmy night, and sleep slid down on them.
     Till rose the dawn they tarried by the strand
     Of sea-girt Lemnos, but with dayspring cast
     The hawsers loose, and heaved the anchor-stones
     Out of the deep.  Athena sent a breeze
     Blowing behind the galley taper-prowed.
     They strained the sail with either stern-sheet taut;
     Seaward they pointed the stout-girdered ship;
     O'er the broad flood she leapt before the wind;
     Broken to right and left the dark wave sighed,
480  And seething all around was hoary foam,
     While thronging dolphins raced on either hand
     Flashing along the paths of silver sea.

     Full soon to fish-fraught Hellespont they came
     And the far-stretching ships.  Glad were the Greeks
     To see the longed-for faces.  Forth the ship
     With joy they stepped; and Poeas' valiant son
     On those two heroes leaned thin wasted hands,
     Who bare him painfully halting to the shore
     Staying his weight upon their brawny arms.
490  As seems mid mountain-brakes an oak or pine
     By strength of the woodcutter half hewn through,
     Which for a little stands on what was left
     Of the smooth trunk by him who hewed thereat
     Hard by the roots, that its slow-smouldering wood
     Might yield him pitch -- now like to one in pain
     It groans, in weakness borne down by the wind,
     Yet is upstayed upon its leafy boughs
     Which from the earth bear up its helpless weight;
     So by pain unendurable bowed down
500  Leaned he on those brave heroes, and was borne
     Unto the war-host.  Men beheld, and all
     Compassionated that great archer, crushed
     By anguish of his hurt.  But one drew near,
     Podaleirius, godlike in his power to heal.
     Swifter than thought he made him whole and sound;
     For deftly on the wound he spread his salves,
     Calling on his physician-father's name;
     And soon the Achaeans shouted all for joy,
     All praising with one voice Asclepius' son.
510  Lovingly then they bathed him, and with oil
     Anointed.  All his heaviness of cheer
     And misery vanished by the Immortals' will;
     And glad at heart were all that looked on him;
     And from affliction he awoke to joy.
     Over the bloodless face the flush of health
     Glowed, and for wretched weakness mighty strength
     Thrilled through him: goodly and great waxed all his limbs.
     As when a field of corn revives again
     Which erst had drooped, by rains of ruining storm
520  Down beaten flat, but by warm summer winds
     Requickened, o'er the laboured land it smiles,
     So Philoctetes' erstwhile wasted frame
     Was all requickened: -- in the galley's hold
     He seemed to have left all cares that crushed his soul.

     And Atreus' sons beheld him marvelling
     As one re-risen from the dead: it seemed
     The work of hands immortal.  And indeed
     So was it verily, as their hearts divined;
     For 'twas the glorious Trito-born that shed
530  Stature and grace upon him.  Suddenly
     He seemed as when of old mid Argive men
     He stood, before calamity struck him down.
     Then unto wealthy Agamemnon's tent
     Did all their mightiest men bring Poeas' son,
     And set him chief in honour at the feast,
     Extolling him.  When all with meat and drink
     Were filled, spake Agamemnon lord of spears:
     "Dear friend, since by the will of Heaven our souls
     Were once perverted, that in sea-girt Lemnos
540  We left thee, harbour not thine heart within
     Fierce wrath for this: by the blest Gods constrained
     We did it; and, I trow, the Immortals willed
     To bring much evil on us, bereft of thee,
     Who art of all men skilfullest to quell
     With shafts of death all foes that face thee in fight.
     For all the tangled paths of human life,
     By land and sea, are by the will of Fate
     Hid from our eyes, in many and devious tracks
     Are cleft apart, in wandering mazes lost.
550  Along them men by Fortune's dooming drift
     Like unto leaves that drive before the wind.
     Oft on an evil path the good man's feet
     Stumble, the brave finds not a prosperous path;
     And none of earth-born men can shun the Fates,
     And of his own will none can choose his way.
     So then doth it behove the wise of heart
     Though on a troublous track the winds of fate
     Sweep him away to suffer and be strong.
     Since we were blinded then, and erred herein,
560  With rich gifts will we make amends to thee
     Hereafter, when we take the stately towers
     Of Troy: but now receive thou handmaids seven,
     Fleet steeds two-score, victors in chariot-race,
     And tripods twelve, wherein thine heart may joy
     Through all thy days; and always in my tent
     Shall royal honour at the feast be thine."

     He spake, and gave the hero those fair gifts.
     Then answered Poeas' mighty-hearted son;
     "Friend, I forgive thee freely, and all beside
570  Whoso against me haply hath trangressed.
     I know how good men's minds sometimes be warped:
     Nor meet it is that one be obdurate
     Ever, and nurse mean rancours: sternest wrath
     Must yield anon unto the melting mood.
     Now pass we to our rest; for better is sleep
     Than feasting late, for him who longs to fight."

     He spake, and rose, and came to his comrades' tent;
     Then swiftly for their war-fain king they dight
     The couch, while laughed their hearts for very joy.
580  Gladly he laid him down to sleep till dawn.

     So passed the night divine, till flushed the hills
     In the sun's light, and men awoke to toil.
     Then all athirst for war the Argive men
     'Gan whet the spear smooth-shafted, or the dart,
     Or javelin, and they brake the bread of dawn,
     And foddered all their horses.  Then to these
     Spake Poeas' son with battle-kindling speech:
     "Up!  let us make us ready for the war!
     Let no man linger mid the galleys, ere
590  The glorious walls of Ilium stately-towered
     Be shattered, and her palaces be burned!"

     Then at his words each heart and spirit glowed:
     They donned their armour, and they grasped their shields.
     Forth of the ships in one huge mass they poured
     Arrayed with bull-hide bucklers, ashen spears,
     And gallant-crested helms.  Through all their ranks
     Shoulder to shoulder marched they: thou hadst seen
     No gap 'twixt man and man as on they charged;
     So close they thronged, so dense was their array.

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