The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
Of this our warrior-queen, the War-god's child;
And do thou bring her back unscathed again
Unto mine halls: we pray thee by the love
Thou bear'st to Ares of the fiery heart
Thy son, yea, to her also! is she not
Most wondrous like the heavenly Goddesses?
And is she not the child of thine own seed?
Pity my stricken heart withal! Thou know'st
All agonies I have suffered in the deaths
Of dear sons whom the Fates have torn from me
By Argive hands in the devouring fight.
Compassionate us, while a remnant yet
Remains of noble Dardanus' blood, while yet
This city stands unwasted! Let us know
From ghastly slaughter and strife one breathing-space!"
In passionate prayer he spake: -- lo, with shrill scream
Swiftly to left an eagle darted by
And in his talons bare a gasping dove.
Then round the heart of Priam all the blood
Was chilled with fear. Low to his soul he said:
"Ne'er shall I see return alive from war
Penthesileia!" On that selfsame day
The Fates prepared his boding to fulfil;
And his heart brake with anguish of despair.
Marvelled the Argives, far across the plain
Seeing the hosts of Troy charge down on them,
And midst them Penthesileia, Ares' child.
These seemed like ravening beasts that mid the hills
Bring grimly slaughter to the fleecy flocks;
And she, as a rushing blast of flame she seemed
That maddeneth through the copses summer-scorched,
When the wind drives it on; and in this wise
Spake one to other in their mustering host:
"Who shall this be who thus can rouse to war
The Trojans, now that Hector hath been slain --
These who, we said, would never more find heart
To stand against us? Lo now, suddenly
Forth are they rushing, madly afire for fight!
Sure, in their midst some great one kindleth them
To battle's toil! Thou verily wouldst say
This were a God, of such great deeds he dreams!
Go to, with aweless courage let us arm
Our own breasts: let us summon up our might
In battle-fury. We shall lack not help
Of Gods this day to close in fight with Troy."
So cried they; and their flashing battle-gear
Cast they about them: forth the ships they poured
Clad in the rage of fight as with a cloak.
Then front to front their battles closed, like beasts
Of ravin, locked in tangle of gory strife.
Clanged their bright mail together, clashed the spears,
The corslets, and the stubborn-welded shields
And adamant helms. Each stabbed at other's flesh
With the fierce brass: was neither ruth nor rest,
And all the Trojan soil was crimson-red.
Then first Penthesileia smote and slew
Molion; now Persinous falls, and now
Eilissus; reeled Antitheus 'neath her spear
The pride of Lernus quelled she: down she bore
Hippalmus 'neath her horse-hoofs; Haemon's son