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The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)   


Were thrust by these mine hands? -- or hast thou heard
In vain, because the Blessed Ones have stol'n
Wit and discretion from thee, to the end
That Doom's relentless gulf might gape for thee?"

He spake; he swung up in his mighty hand
And sped the long spear warrior-slaying, wrought
By Chiron, and above the right breast pierced
The battle-eager maid. The red blood leapt
Forth, as a fountain wells, and all at once
Fainted the strength of Penthesileia's limbs;
Dropped the great battle-axe from her nerveless hand;
A mist of darkness overveiled her eyes,
And anguish thrilled her soul. Yet even so
Still drew she difficult breath, still dimly saw
The hero, even now in act to drag
Her from the swift steed's back. Confusedly
She thought: "Or shall I draw my mighty sword,
And bide Achilles' fiery onrush, or
Hastily cast me from my fleet horse down
To earth, and kneel unto this godlike man,
And with wild breath promise for ransoming
Great heaps of brass and gold, which pacify
The hearts of victors never so athirst
For blood, if haply so the murderous might
Of Aeacus' son may hearken and may spare,
Or peradventure may compassionate
My youth, and so vouchsafe me to behold
Mine home again? -- for O, I long to live!"

So surged the wild thoughts in her; but the Gods
Ordained it otherwise. Even now rushed on
In terrible anger Peleus' son: he thrust
With sudden spear, and on its shaft impaled
The body of her tempest-footed steed,
Even as a man in haste to sup might pierce
Flesh with the spit, above the glowing hearth
To roast it, or as in a mountain-glade
A hunter sends the shaft of death clear through
The body of a stag with such winged speed
That the fierce dart leaps forth beyond, to plunge
Into the tall stem of an oak or pine.
So that death-ravening spear of Peleus' son
Clear through the goodly steed rushed on, and pierced
Penthesileia. Straightway fell she down
Into the dust of earth, the arms of death,
In grace and comeliness fell, for naught of shame
Dishonoured her fair form. Face down she lay
On the long spear outgasping her last breath,
Stretched upon that fleet horse as on a couch;
Like some tall pine snapped by the icy mace
Of Boreas, earth's forest-fosterling
Reared by a spring to stately height, amidst
Long mountain-glens, a glory of mother earth;
So from the once fleet steed low fallen lay
Penthesileia, all her shattered strength
Brought down to this, and all her loveliness.

Now when the Trojans saw the Warrior-queen
Struck down in battle, ran through all their lines
A shiver of panic. Straightway to their walls
Turned they in flight, heart-agonized with grief.
As when on the wide sea, 'neath buffetings
Of storm-blasts, castaways whose ship is wrecked

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