The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
His murmuring flow, when from the limbs he tore
Lycaon's life beside the sounding river;
And how he smote down Hector; how he slew
Penthesileia, and the godlike son
Of splendour-throned Dawn; -- all this he sang
To Argives which already knew the tale;
Sang of his giant mould, how no man's strength
In fight could stand against him, nor in games
Where strong men strive for mastery, where the swift
Contend with flying feet or hurrying wheels
Of chariots, nor in combat panoplied;
And how in goodlihead he far outshone
All Danaans, and how his bodily might
Was measureless in the stormy clash of war.
Last, he prayed Heaven that he might see a son
Like that great sire from sea-washed Scyros come.
That noble song acclaiming Argives praised;
Yea, silver-looted Thetis smiled, and gave
The singer fleetfoot horses, given of old
Beside Caicus' mouth by Telephus
To Achilles, when he healed the torturing wound
With that same spear wherewith himself had pierced
Telephus' thigh, and thrust the point clear through.
These Nestor Neleus' son to his comrades gave,
And, glorying in their godlike lord, they led
The steeds unto his ships. Then Thetis set
Amidst the athlete-ring ten kine, to be
Her prizes for the footrace, and by each
Ran a fair suckling calf. These the bold might
Of Peleus' tireless son had driven down
From slopes of Ida, prizes of his spear.
To strive for these rose up two victory-fain,
Teucer the first, the son of Telamon,
And Aias, of the Locrian archers chief.
These twain with swift hands girded them about
With loin-cloths, reverencing the Goddess-bride
Of Peleus, and the Sea-maids, who with her
Came to behold the Argives' athlete-sport.
And Atreus' son, lord of all Argive men,
Showed them the turning-goal of that swift course.
Then these the Queen of Rivalry spurred on,
As from the starting-line like falcons swift
They sped away. Long doubtful was the race:
Now, as the Argives gazed, would Aias' friends
Shout, now rang out the answering cheer from friends
Of Teucer. But when in their eager speed
Close on the end they were, then Teucer's feet
Were trammelled by unearthly powers: some god
Or demon dashed his foot against the stock
Of a deep-rooted tamarisk. Sorely wrenched
Was his left ankle: round the joint upswelled
The veins high-ridged. A great shout rang from all
That watched the contest. Aias darted past
Exultant: ran his Locrian folk to hail
Their lord, with sudden joy in all their souls.
Then to his ships they drave the kine, and cast
Fodder before them. Eager-helpful friends
Led Teucer halting thence. The leeches drew
Blood from his foot: then over it they laid
Soft-shredded linen ointment-smeared, and swathed
With smooth bands round, and charmed away the pain.