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The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)   


Of where the Sun-steeds leap from orient waves,
Telling withal of all his wayfaring
From Ocean's verge to Priam's wall, and spurs
Of Ida. Yea, he told how his strong hands
Smote the great army of the Solymi
Who barred his way, whose deed presumptuous brought
Upon their own heads crushing ruin and woe.
So told he all that marvellous tale, and told
Of countless tribes and nations seen of him.
And Priam heard, and ever glowed his heart
Within him; and the old lips answering spake:
"Memnon, the Gods are good, who have vouchsafed
To me to look upon thine host, and thee
Here in mine halls. O that their grace would so
Crown this their boon, that I might see my foes
All thrust to one destruction by thy spears.
That well may be, for marvellous-like art thou
To some invincible Deathless One, yea, more
Than any earthly hero. Wherefore thou,
I trust, shalt hurl wild havoc through their host.
But now, I pray thee, for this day do thou
Cheer at my feast thine heart, and with the morn
Shalt thou go forth to battle worthy of thee."

Then in his hands a chalice deep and wide
He raised, and Memnon in all love he pledged
In that huge golden cup, a gift of Gods;
For this the cunning God-smith brought to Zeus,
His masterpiece, what time the Mighty in Power
To Hephaestus gave for bride the Cyprian Queen;
And Zeus on Dardanus his godlike son
Bestowed it, he on Erichthonius;
Erichthonius to Tros the great of heart
Gave it, and he with all his treasure-store
Bequeathed it unto Ilus, and he gave
That wonder to Laomedon, and he
To Priam, who had thought to leave the same
To his own son. Fate ordered otherwise.
And Memnon clasped his hands about that cup
So peerless-beautiful, and all his heart
Marvelled; and thus he spake unto the King:
"Beseems not with great swelling words to vaunt
Amidst the feast, and lavish promises,
But rather quietly to eat in hall,
And to devise deeds worthy. Whether I
Be brave and strong, or whether I be not,
Battle, wherein a man's true might is seen,
Shall prove to thee. Now would I rest, nor drink
The long night through. The battle-eager spirit
By measureless wine and lack of sleep is dulled."

Marvelled at him the old King, and he said:
"As seems thee good touching the banquet, do
After thy pleasure. I, when thou art loth,
Will not constrain thee. Yea, unmeet it is
To hold back him who fain would leave the board,
Or hurry from one's halls who fain would stay.
So is the good old law with all true men."

Then rose that champion from the board, and passed
Thence to his sleep -- his last! And with him went
All others from the banquet to their rest:
And gentle sleep slid down upon them soon.

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