The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
Refrained him. And by this a mingled host
Of Danaans eager-hearted fought around
The mighty dead, and many and many a foe
Slew they with those smooth-shafted ashen spears.
Even as the winds strew down upon the ground
The flying leaves, when through the forest-glades
Sweep the wild gusts, as waneth autumn-tide,
And the old year is dying; so the spears
Of dauntless Danaans strewed the earth with slain,
For loyal to dead Achilles were they all,
And loyal to hero Aias to the death.
For like black Doom he blasted the ranks of Troy.
Then against Aias Paris strained his bow;
But he was ware thereof, and sped a stone
Swift to the archer's head: that bolt of death
Crashed through his crested helm, and darkness closed
Round him. In dust down fell he: naught availed
His shafts their eager lord, this way and that
Scattered in dust: empty his quiver lay,
Flew from his hand the bow. In haste his friends
Upcaught him from the earth, and Hector's steeds
Hurried him thence to Troy, scarce drawing breath,
And moaning in his pain. Nor left his men
The weapons of their lord, but gathered up
All from the plain, and bare them to the prince;
While Aias after him sent a wrathful shout:
"Dog, thou hast 'scaped the heavy hand of death
To-day! But swiftly thy last hour shall come
By some strong Argive's hands, or by mine own,
But now have I a nobler task in hand,
From murder's grip to rescue Achilles' corse."
Then turned he on the foe, hurling swift doom
On such as fought around Peleides yet.
'These saw how many yielded up the ghost
Neath his strong hands, and, with hearts failing them
For fear, against him could they stand no more.
As rascal vultures were they, which the swoop
Of an eagle, king of birds, scares far away
From carcasses of sheep that wolves have torn;
So this way, that way scattered they before
The hurtling stones, the sword, the might of Aias.
In utter panic from the war they fled,
In huddled rout, like starlings from the swoop
Of a death-dealing hawk, when, fleeing bane,
One drives against another, as they dart
All terror-huddled in tumultuous flight.
So from the war to Priam's burg they fled
Wretchedly clad with terror as a cloak,
Quailing from mighty Aias' battle-shout,
As with hands dripping blood-gouts he pursued.
Yea, all, one after other, had he slain,
Had they not streamed through city-gates flung wide
Hard-panting, pierced to the very heart with fear.
Pent therewithin he left them, as a shepherd
Leaves folded sheep, and strode back o'er the plain;
Yet never touched he with his feet the ground,
But aye he trod on dead men, arms, and blood;
For countless corpses lay o'er that wide stretch
Even from broad-wayed Troy to Hellespont,
Bodies of strong men slain, the spoil of Doom.
As when the dense stalks of sun-ripened corn
Fall 'neath the reapers' hands, and the long swaths,
Heavy with full ears, overspread the field,
And joys the heart of him who oversees