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The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)   


In their long spears, await her lightning leap;
So did those warriors twain with spears upswung
Wait Penthesileia. Clanged the brazen plates
About their shoulders as they moved. And first
Leapt the long-shafted lance sped from the hand
Of goodly Penthesileia. Straight it flew
To the shield of Aeacus' son, but glancing thence
This way and that the shivered fragments sprang
As from a rock-face: of such temper were
The cunning-hearted Fire-god's gifts divine.
Then in her hand the warrior-maid swung up
A second javelin fury-winged, against
Aias, and with fierce words defied the twain:
"Ha, from mine hand in vain one lance hath leapt!
But with this second look I suddenly
To quell the strength and courage of two foes, --
Ay, though ye vaunt you mighty men of war
Amid your Danaans! Die ye shall, and so
Lighter shall be the load of war's affliction
That lies upon the Trojan chariot-lords.
Draw nigh, come through the press to grips with me,
So shall ye learn what might wells up in breasts
Of Amazons. With my blood is mingled war!
No mortal man begat me, but the Lord
Of War, insatiate of the battle-cry.
Therefore my might is more than any man's."

With scornful laughter spake she: then she hurled
Her second lance; but they in utter scorn
Laughed now, as swiftly flew the shaft, and smote
The silver greave of Aias, and was foiled
Thereby, and all its fury could not scar
The flesh within; for fate had ordered not
That any blade of foes should taste the blood
Of Aias in the bitter war. But he
Recked of the Amazon naught, but turned him thence
To rush upon the Trojan host, and left
Penthesileia unto Peleus' son
Alone, for well he knew his heart within
That she, for all her prowess, none the less
Would cost Achilles battle-toil as light,
As effortless, as doth the dove the hawk.

Then groaned she an angry groan that she had sped
Her shafts in vain; and now with scoffing speech
To her in turn the son of Peleus spake:
"Woman, with what vain vauntings triumphing
Hast thou come forth against us, all athirst
To battle with us, who be mightier far
Than earthborn heroes? We from Cronos' Son,
The Thunder-roller, boast our high descent.
Ay, even Hector quailed, the battle-swift,
Before us, e'en though far away he saw
Our onrush to grim battle. Yea, my spear
Slew him, for all his might. But thou -- thine heart
Is utterly mad, that thou hast greatly dared
To threaten us with death this day! On thee
Thy latest hour shall swiftly come -- is come!
Thee not thy sire the War-god now shall pluck
Out of mine hand, but thou the debt shalt pay
Of a dark doom, as when mid mountain-folds
A pricket meets a lion, waster of herds.
What, woman, hast thou heard not of the heaps
Of slain, that into Xanthus' rushing stream

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