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The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)   


How the Arms of Achilles were cause of madness and death unto
Aias.



So when all other contests had an end,
Thetis the Goddess laid down in the midst
Great-souled Achilles' arms divinely wrought;
And all around flashed out the cunning work
Wherewith the Fire-god overchased the shield
Fashioned for Aeacus' son, the dauntless-souled.

Inwrought upon that labour of a God
Were first high heaven and cloudland, and beneath
Lay earth and sea: the winds, the clouds were there,
The moon and sun, each in its several place;
There too were all the stars that, fixed in heaven,
Are borne in its eternal circlings round.
Above and through all was the infinite air
Where to and fro flit birds of slender beak:
Thou hadst said they lived, and floated on the breeze.
Here Tethys' all-embracing arms were wrought,
And Ocean's fathomless flow. The outrushing flood
Of rivers crying to the echoing hills
All round, to right, to left, rolled o'er the land.

Round it rose league-long mountain-ridges, haunts
Of terrible lions and foul jackals: there
Fierce bears and panthers prowled; with these were seen
Wild boars that whetted deadly-clashing tusks
In grimly-frothing jaws. There hunters sped
After the hounds: beaters with stone and dart,
To the life portrayed, toiled in the woodland sport.

And there were man-devouring wars, and all
Horrors of fight: slain men were falling down
Mid horse-hoofs; and the likeness of a plain
Blood-drenched was on that shield invincible.
Panic was there, and Dread, and ghastly Enyo
With limbs all gore-bespattered hideously,
And deadly Strife, and the Avenging Spirits
Fierce-hearted -- she, still goading warriors on
To the onset they, outbreathing breath of fire.
Around them hovered the relentless Fates;
Beside them Battle incarnate onward pressed
Yelling, and from their limbs streamed blood and sweat.
There were the ruthless Gorgons: through their hair
Horribly serpents coiled with flickering tongues.
A measureless marvel was that cunning work
Of things that made men shudder to behold
Seeming as though they verily lived and moved.

And while here all war's marvels were portrayed,
Yonder were all the works of lovely peace.
The myriad tribes of much-enduring men
Dwelt in fair cities. Justice watched o'er all.
To diverse toils they set their hands; the fields
Were harvest-laden; earth her increase bore.

Most steeply rose on that god-laboured work
The rugged flanks of holy Honour's mount,
And there upon a palm-tree throned she sat
Exalted, and her hands reached up to heaven.
All round her, paths broken by many rocks
Thwarted the climbers' feet; by those steep tracks

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