The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
And never pause for breath in that stern strife!
Let us too throne war's spirit in our hearts!
Let us too face the fight which favoureth none!
For we, we women, be not creatures cast
In diverse mould from men: to us is given
Such energy of life as stirs in them.
Eyes have we like to theirs, and limbs: throughout
Fashioned we are alike: one common light
We look on, and one common air we breathe:
With like food are we nourished -- nay, wherein
Have we been dowered of God more niggardly
Than men? Then let us shrink not from the fray
See ye not yonder a woman far excelling
Men in the grapple of fight? Yet is her blood
Nowise akin to ours, nor fighteth she
For her own city. For an alien king
She warreth of her own heart's prompting, fears
The face of no man; for her soul is thrilled
With valour and with spirit invincible.
But we -- to right, to left, lie woes on woes
About our feet: this mourns beloved sons,
And that a husband who for hearth and home
Hath died; some wail for fathers now no more;
Some grieve for brethren and for kinsmen lost.
Not one but hath some share in sorrow's cup.
Behind all this a fearful shadow looms,
The day of bondage! Therefore flinch not ye
From war, O sorrow-laden! Better far
To die in battle now, than afterwards
Hence to be haled into captivity
To alien folk, we and our little ones,
In the stern grip of fate leaving behind
A burning city, and our husbands' graves."
So cried she, and with passion for stern war
Thrilled all those women; and with eager speed
They hasted to go forth without the wall
Mail-clad, afire to battle for their town
And people: all their spirit was aflame.
As when within a hive, when winter-tide
Is over and gone, loud hum the swarming bees
What time they make them ready forth to fare
To bright flower-pastures, and no more endure
To linger therewithin, but each to other
Crieth the challenge-cry to sally forth;
Even so bestirred themselves the women of Troy,
And kindled each her sister to the fray.
The weaving-wool, the distaff far they flung,
And to grim weapons stretched their eager hands.
And now without the city these had died
In that wild battle, as their husbands died
And the strong Amazons died, had not one voice
Of wisdom cried to stay their maddened feet,
When with dissuading words Theano spake:
"Wherefore, ah wherefore for the toil and strain
Of battle's fearful tumult do ye yearn,
Infatuate ones? Never your limbs have toiled
In conflict yet. In utter ignoranee
Panting for labour unendurable,
Ye rush on all-unthinking; for your strength
Can never be as that of Danaan men,
Men trained in daily battle. Amazons
Have joyed in ruthless fight, in charging steeds,