The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
Of Nestor most of all, to see his child
Slain in his sight; for no more bitter pang
Smiteth the heart of man than when a son
Perishes, and his father sees him die.
Therefore, albeit unused to melting mood,
His soul was torn with agony for the son
By black death slain. A wild cry hastily
To Thrasymedes did he send afar:
"Hither to me, Thrasymedes war-renowned!
Help me to thrust back from thy brother's corse,
Yea, from mine hapless son, his murderer,
That so ourselves may render to our dead
All dues of mourning. If thou flinch for fear,
No son of mine art thou, nor of the line
Of Periclymenus, who dared withstand
Hercules' self. Come, to the battle-toil!
For grim necessity oftentimes inspires
The very coward with courage of despair."
Then at his cry that brother's heart was stung
With bitter grief. Swift for his help drew nigh
Phereus, on whom for his great prince's fall
Came anguish. Charged these warriors twain to face
Strong Memnon in the gory strife. As when
Two hunters 'mid a forest's mountain-folds,
Eager to take the prey, rush on to meet
A wild boar or a bear, with hearts afire
To slay him, but in furious mood he leaps
On them, and holds at bay the might of men;
So swelled the heart of Memnon. Nigh drew they,
Yet vainly essayed to slay him, as they hurled
The long spears, but the lances glanced aside
Far from his flesh: the Dawn-queen turned them thence.
Yet fell their spears not vainly to the ground:
The lance of fiery-hearted Phereus, winged
With eager speed, dealt death to Meges' son,
Polymnius: Laomedon was slain
By the wrath of Nestor's son for a brother dead,
The dear one Memnon slew in battle-rout,
And whom the slayer's war-unwearied hands
Now stripped of his all-brazen battle-gear,
Nought recking, he, of Thrasymedes' might,
Nor of stout Phereus, who were unto him
But weaklings. A great lion seemed he there
Standing above a hart, as jackals they,
That, howso hungry, dare not come too nigh.
But hard thereby the father gazed thereon
In agony, and cried the rescue-cry
To other his war-comrades for their aid
Against the foe. Himself too burned to fight
From his war-car; for yearning for the dead
Goaded him to the fray beyond his strength.
Ay, and himself had been on his dear son
Laid, numbered with the dead, had not the voice
Of Memnon stayed him even in act to rush
Upon him, for he reverenced in his heart
The white hairs of an age-mate of his sire:
"Ancient," he cried, "it were my shame to fight.
With one so much mine elder: I am not
Blind unto honour. Verily I weened
That this was some young warrior, when I saw
Thee facing thus the foe. My bold heart hoped
For contest worthy of mine hand and spear.