The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
Go to, thyself shrink shivering from the strife!
Cower, coward, in thine halls! But all the rest,
We men, will still go armour-girt, until
We wrest from this our truceless war a peace
That shall not shame us! 'Tis with travail and toil
Of strenuous war that brave men win renown;
But flight? -- weak women choose it, and young babes!
Thy spirit is like to theirs. No whit I trust
Thee in the day of battle -- thee, the man
Who maketh faint the hearts of all the host!"
So fiercely he reviled: Polydamas
Wrathfully answered; for he shrank not, he,
From answering to his face. A caitiff hound,
A reptile fool, is he who fawns on men
Before their faces, while his heart is black
With malice, and, when they be gone, his tongue
Backbites them. Openly Polydamas
Flung back upon the prince his taunt and scoff:
"O thou of living men most mischievous!
Thy valour -- quotha! -- brings us misery!
Thine heart endures, and will endure, that strife
Should have no limit, save in utter ruin
Of fatherland and people for thy sake!
Ne'er may such wantwit valour craze my soul!
Be mine to cherish wise discretion aye,
A warder that shall keep mine house in peace."
Indignantly he spake, and Paris found
No word to answer him, for conscience woke
Remembrance of all woes he had brought on Troy,
And should bring; for his passion-fevered heart
Would rather hail quick death than severance
From Helen the divinely fair, although
For her sake was it that the sons of Troy
Even then were gazing from their towers to see
The Argives and Achilles drawing nigh.
But no long time thereafter came to them
Memnon the warrior-king, and brought with him
A countless host of swarthy Aethiops.
From all the streets of Troy the Trojans flocked
Glad-eyed to gaze on him, as seafarers,
With ruining tempest utterly forspent,
See through wide-parting clouds the radiance
Of the eternal-wheeling Northern Wain;
So joyed the Troyfolk as they thronged around,
And more than all Laomedon's son, for now
Leapt in his heart a hope, that yet the ships
Might by those Aethiop men be burned with fire;
So giantlike their king was, and themselves
So huge a host, and so athirst for fight.
Therefore with all observance welcomed he
The strong son of the Lady of the Dawn
With goodly gifts and with abundant cheer.
So at the banquet King and Hero sat
And talked, this telling of the Danaan chiefs,
And all the woes himself had suffered, that
Telling of that strange immortality
By the Dawn-goddess given to his sire,
Telling of the unending flow and ebb
Of the Sea-mother, of the sacred flood
Of Ocean fathomless-rolling, of the bounds
Of Earth that wearieth never of her travail,