The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
Patroclus; and she made his frame to be
More massive, like a war-god to behold.
And wonder seized the Argives, as they thronged
And saw the image of a living man,
Where all the stately length of Peleus' son
Lay on the couch, and seemed as though he slept.
Around him all the woeful captive-maids,
Whom he had taken for a prey, what time
He had ravaged hallowed Lemnos, and had scaled
The towered crags of Thebes, Eetion's town,
Wailed, as they stood and rent their fair young flesh,
And smote their breasts, and from their hearts bemoaned
That lord of gentleness and courtesy,
Who honoured even the daughters of his foes.
And stricken most of all with heart-sick pain
Briseis, hero Achilles' couchmate, bowed
Over the dead, and tore her fair young flesh
With ruthless fingers, shrieking: her soft breast
Was ridged with gory weals, so cruelly
She smote it thou hadst said that crimson blood
Had dripped on milk. Yet, in her griefs despite,
Her winsome loveliness shone out, and grace
Hung like a veil about her, as she wailed:
"Woe for this grief passing all griefs beside!
Never on me came anguish like to this
Not when my brethren died, my fatherland
Was wasted -- like this anguish for thy death!
Thou wast my day, my sunlight, my sweet life,
Mine hope of good, my strong defence from harm,
Dearer than all my beauty -- yea, more dear
Than my lost parents! Thou wast all in all
To me, thou only, captive though I be.
Thou tookest from me every bondmaid's task
And like a wife didst hold me. Ah, but now
Me shall some new Achaean master bear
To fertile Sparta, or to thirsty Argos.
The bitter cup of thraldom shall I drain,
Severed, ah me, from thee! Oh that the earth
Had veiled my dead face ere I saw thy doom!"
So for slain Peleus' son did she lament
With woeful handmaids and heart-anguished Greeks,
Mourning a king, a husband. Never dried
Her tears were: ever to the earth they streamed
Like sunless water trickling from a rock
While rime and snow yet mantle o'er the earth
Above it; yet the frost melts down before
The east-wind and the flame-shafts of the sun.
Now came the sound of that upringing wail
To Nereus' Daughters, dwellers in the depths
Unfathomed. With sore anguish all their hearts
Were smitten: piteously they moaned: their cry
Shivered along the waves of Hellespont.
Then with dark mantles overpalled they sped
Swiftly to where the Argive men were thronged.
As rushed their troop up silver paths of sea,
The flood disported round them as they came.
With one wild cry they floated up; it rang,
A sound as when fleet-flying cranes forebode
A great storm. Moaned the monsters of the deep
Plaintively round that train of mourners. Fast
On sped they to their goal, with awesome cry