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The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)   


"Nay, friend, and all ye other sons of Troy,
And ye our strong war-helpers, flinch we not
Faint-hearted from defence of fatherland!
Yet let us go not forth the city-gates
To battle with yon foe. Nay, from our towers
And from our ramparts let us make defence,
Till our new champion come, the stormy heart
Of Memnon. Lo, he cometh, leading on
Hosts numberless, Aethiopia's swarthy sons.
By this, I trow, he is nigh unto our gates;
For long ago, in sore distress of soul,
I sent him urgent summons. Yea, and he
Promised me, gladly promised me, to come
To Troy, and make all end of all our woes.
And now, I trust, he is nigh. Let us endure
A little longer then; for better far
It is like brave men in the fight to die
Than flee, and live in shame mid alien fo1k."

So spake the old king; but Polydamas,
The prudent-hearted, thought not good to war
Thus endlessly, and spake his patriot rede:
"If Memnon have beyond all shadow of doubt
Pledged him to thrust dire ruin far from us,
Then do I gainsay not that we await
The coming of that godlike man within
Our walls -- yet, ah, mine heart misgives me, lest,
Though he with all his warriors come, he come
But to his death, and unto thousands more,
Our people, nought but misery come thereof;
For terribly against us leaps the storm
Of the Achaeans' might. But now, go to,
Let us not flee afar from this our Troy
To wander to some alien land, and there,
In the exile's pitiful helplessness, endure
All flouts and outrage; nor in our own land
Abide we till the storm of Argive war
O'erwhelm us. Nay, even now, late though it be,
Better it were for us to render back
Unto the Danaans Helen and her wealth,
Even all that glory of women brought with her
From Sparta, and add other treasure -- yea,
Repay it twofold, so to save our Troy
And our own souls, while yet the spoiler's hand
Is laid not on our substance, and while yet
Troy hath not sunk in gulfs of ravening flame.
I pray you, take to heart my counsel! None
Shall, well I wot, be given to Trojan men
Better than this. Ah, would that long ago
Hector had hearkened to my pleading, when
I fain had kept him in the ancient home!"

So spake Polydamas the noble and strong,
And all the listening Trojans in their hearts
Approved; yet none dared utter openly
The word, for all with trembling held in awe
Their prince and Helen, though for her sole sake
Daily they died. But on that noble man
Turned Paris, and reviled him to his face:
"Thou dastard battle-blencher Polydamas!
Not in thy craven bosom beats a heart
That bides the fight, but only fear and panic.
Yet dost thou vaunt thee -- quotha! -- still our best
In counsel! -- no man's soul is base as thine!

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