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The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)   


Gasping his life out, and the spear-head shot
Out through his ear. These, as they rushed on him,
That hero slew; but many a fleer's life
He spilt, for in his heart still leapt the blood.

But when his limbs grew chill, and ebbed away
His spirit, leaning on his spear he stood,
While still the Trojans fled in huddled rout
Of panic, and he shouted unto them:
"Trojan and Dardan cravens, ye shall not
Even in my death, escape my merciless spear,
But unto mine Avenging Spirits ye
Shall pay -- ay, one and all -- destruction's debt!"

He spake; they heard and quailed: as mid the hills
Fawns tremble at a lion's deep-mouthed roar,
And terror-stricken flee the monster, so
The ranks of Trojan chariot-lords, the lines
Of battle-helpers drawn from alien lands,
Quailed at the last shout of Achilles, deemed
That he was woundless yet. But 'neath the weight
Of doom his aweless heart, his mighty limbs,
At last were overborne. Down midst the dead
He fell, as fails a beetling mountain-cliff.
Earth rang beneath him: clanged with a thundercrash
His arms, as Peleus' son the princely fell.
And still his foes with most exceeding dread
Stared at him, even as, when some murderous beast
Lies slain by shepherds, tremble still the sheep
Eyeing him, as beside the fold he lies,
And shrinking, as they pass him, far aloof
And, even as he were living, fear him dead;
So feared they him, Achilles now no more.

Yet Paris strove to kindle those faint hearts;
For his own heart exulted, and he hoped,
Now Peleus' son, the Danaans' strength, had fallen,
Wholly to quench the Argive battle-fire:
"Friends, if ye help me truly and loyally,
Let us this day die, slain by Argive men,
Or live, and hale to Troy with Hector's steeds
In triumph Peleus' son thus fallen dead,
The steeds that, grieving, yearning for their lord
To fight have borne me since my brother died.
Might we with these but hale Achilles slain,
Glory were this for Hector's horses, yea,
For Hector -- if in Hades men have sense
Of righteous retribution. This man aye
Devised but mischief for the sons of Troy;
And now Troy's daughters with exultant hearts
From all the city streets shall gather round,
As pantheresses wroth for stolen cubs,
Or lionesses, might stand around a man
Whose craft in hunting vexed them while he lived.
So round Achilles -- a dead corpse at last! --
In hurrying throngs Troy's daughters then shall come
In unforgiving, unforgetting hate,
For parents wroth, for husbands slain, for sons,
For noble kinsmen. Most of all shall joy
My father, and the ancient men, whose feet
Unwillingly are chained within the walls
By eld, if we shall hale him through our gates,
And give our foe to fowls of the air for meat."

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