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The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)   


After the Trojans fleeing cityward,
And harried still their flight; but wroth at heart
Thus Phoebus spake to his indignant soul:
"Out on this man! he is sense-bereft! But now
Not Zeus himself nor any other Power
Shall save this madman who defies the Gods!"

From mortal sight he vanished into cloud,
And cloaked with mist a baleful shaft he shot
Which leapt to Achilles' ankle: sudden pangs
With mortal sickness made his whole heart faint.
He reeled, and like a tower he fell, that falls
Smit by a whirlwind when an earthquake cleaves
A chasm for rushing blasts from underground;
So fell the goodly form of Aeacus' son.
He glared, a murderous glance, to right, to left,
[Upon the Trojans, and a terrible threat]
Shouted, a threat that could not be fulfilled:
"Who shot at me a stealthy-smiting shaft?
Let him but dare to meet me face to face!
So shall his blood and all his bowels gush out
About my spear, and he be hellward sped!
I know that none can meet me man to man
And quell in fight -- of earth-born heroes none,
Though such an one should bear within his breast
A heart unquailing, and have thews of brass.
But dastards still in stealthy ambush lurk
For lives of heroes. Let him face me then! --
Ay! though he be a God whose anger burns
Against the Danaans! Yea, mine heart forebodes
That this my smiter was Apollo, cloaked
In deadly darkness. So in days gone by
My mother told me how that by his shafts
I was to die before the Scaean Gates
A piteous death. Her words were not vain words."

Then with unflinching hands from out the wound
Incurable he drew the deadly shaft
In agonized pain. Forth gushed the blood; his heart
Waxed faint beneath the shadow of coming doom.
Then in indignant wrath he hurled from him
The arrow: a sudden gust of wind swept by,
And caught it up, and, even as he trod
Zeus' threshold, to Apollo gave it back;
For it beseemed not that a shaft divine,
Sped forth by an Immortal, should be lost.
He unto high Olympus swiftly came,
To the great gathering of immortal Gods,
Where all assembled watched the war of men,
These longing for the Trojans' triumph, those
For Danaan victory; so with diverse wills
Watched they the strife, the slayers and the slain.

Him did the Bride of Zeus behold, and straight
Upbraided with exceeding bitter words:
"What deed of outrage, Phoebus, hast thou done
This day, forgetful of that day whereon
To godlike Peleus' spousals gathered all
The Immortals? Yea, amidst the feasters thou
Sangest how Thetis silver-footed left
The sea's abysses to be Peleus' bride;
And as thou harpedst all earth's children came
To hearken, beasts and birds, high craggy hills,
Rivers, and all deep-shadowed forests came.

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