The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
Nor from grim battle shrink I, knowing well
How far my goddess-mother doth transcend
A Nereid, whose child thou vauntest thee.
To Gods and men my mother bringeth light;
On her depends the issue of all things,
Works great and glorious in Olympus wrought
Whereof comes blessing unto men. But thine --
She sits in barren crypts of brine: she dwells
Glorying mid dumb sea-monsters and mid fish,
Deedless, unseen! Nothing I reck of her,
Nor rank her with the immortal Heavenly Ones."
In stern rebuke spake Aeacus' aweless son:
"Memnon, how wast thou so distraught of wit
That thou shouldst face me, and to fight defy
Me, who in might, in blood, in stature far
Surpass thee? From supremest Zeus I trace
My glorious birth; and from the strong Sea-god
Nereus, begetter of the Maids of the Sea,
The Nereids, honoured of the Olympian Gods.
And chiefest of them all is Thetis, wise
With wisdom world-renowned; for in her bowers
She sheltered Dionysus, chased by might
Of murderous Lycurgus from the earth.
Yea, and the cunning God-smith welcomed she
Within her mansion, when from heaven he fell.
Ay, and the Lightning-lord she once released
From bonds. The all-seeing Dwellers in the Sky
Remember all these things, and reverence
My mother Thetis in divine Olympus.
Ay, that she is a Goddess shalt thou know
When to thine heart the brazen spear shall pierce
Sped by my might. Patroclus' death I avenged
On Hector, and Antilochus on thee
Will I avenge. No weakling's friend thou hast slain!
But why like witless children stand we here
Babbling our parents' fame and our own deeds?
Now is the hour when prowess shall decide."
Then from the sheath he flashed his long keen sword,
And Memnon his; and swiftly in fiery fight
Closed they, and rained the never-ceasing blows
Upon the bucklers which with craft divine
Hephaestus' self had fashioned. Once and again
Clashed they together, and their cloudy crests
Touched, mingling all their tossing storm of hair.
And Zeus, for that he loved them both, inspired
With prowess each, and mightier than their wont
He made them, made them tireless, nothing like
To men, but Gods: and gloated o'er the twain
The Queen of Strife. In eager fury these
Thrust swiftly out the spear, with fell intent
To reach the throat 'twixt buckler-rim and helm,
Thrust many a time and oft, and now would aim
The point beneath the shield, above the greave,
Now close beneath the corslet curious-wrought
That lapped the stalwart frame: hard, fast they lunged,
And on their shoulders clashed the arms divine.
Roared to the very heavens the battle-shout
Of warring men, of Trojans, Aethiops,
And Argives mighty-hearted, while the dust
Rolled up from 'neath their feet, tossed to the sky
In stress of battle-travail great and strong.