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The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)   


Nay, draw thou back afar from battle-toil
And bitter death. Go, lest, how loth soe'er,
I smite thee of sore need. Nay, fall not thou
Beside thy son, against a mightier man
Fighting, lest men with folly thee should charge,
For folly it is that braves o'ermastering might."

He spake, and answered him that warrior old:
"Nay, Memnon, vain was that last word of thine.
None would name fool the father who essayed,
Battling with foes for his son's sake, to thrust
The ruthless slayer back from that dear corpse,
But ah that yet my strength were whole in me,
That thou might'st know my spear! Now canst thou vaunt
Proudly enow: a young man's heart is bold
And light his wit. Uplifted is thy soul
And vain thy speech. If in my strength of youth
Thou hadst met me -- ha, thy friends had not rejoiced,
For all thy might! But me the grievous weight
Of age bows down, like an old lion whom
A cur may boldly drive back from the fold,
For that he cannot, in his wrath's despite,
Maintain his own cause, being toothless now,
And strengthless, and his strong heart tamed by time.
So well the springs of olden strength no more
Now in my breast. Yet am I stronger still
Than many men; my grey hairs yield to few
That have within them all the strength of youth."

So drew he back a little space, and left
Lying in dust his son, since now no more
Lived in the once lithe limbs the olden strength,
For the years' weight lay heavy on his head.
Back leapt Thrasymedes likewise, spearman good,
And battle-eager Phereus, and the rest
Their comrades; for that slaughter-dealing man
Pressed hard on them. As when from mountains high
A shouting river with wide-echoing din
Sweeps down its fathomless whirlpools through the gloom,
When God with tumult of a mighty storm
Hath palled the sky in cloud from verge to verge,
When thunders crash all round, when thick and fast
Gleam lightnings from the huddling clouds, when fields
Are flooded as the hissing rain descends,
And all the air is filled with awful roar
Of torrents pouring down the hill-ravines;
So Memnon toward the shores of Hellespont
Before him hurled the Argives, following hard
Behind them, slaughtering ever. Many a man
Fell in the dust, and left his life in blood
'Neath Aethiop hands. Stained was the earth with gore
As Danaans died. Exulted Memnon's soul
As on the ranks of foemen ever he rushed,
And heaped with dead was all the plain of Troy.
And still from fight refrained he not; he hoped
To be a light of safety unto Troy
And bane to Danaans. But all the while
Stood baleful Doom beside him, and spurred on
To strife, with flattering smile. To right, to left
His stalwart helpers wrought in battle-toil,
Alcyoneus and Nychius, and the son
Of Asius furious-souled; Meneclus' spear,
Clydon and Alexippus, yea, a host
Eager to chase the foe, men who in fight

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