The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
All captive-maids in beauty and household-skill,
Save only lovely-tressed Briseis. These
Achilles captive brought from Lesbos' Isle,
And in their service joyed. The first was made
Stewardess of the feast and lady of meats;
The second to the feasters poured the wine;
The third shed water on their hands thereafter;
The fourth bare all away, the banquet done.
These Tydeus' son and giant Aias shared,
And, parted two and two, unto their ships
Sent they those fair and serviceable ones.
Next, for the play of fists Idomeneus rose,
For cunning was he in all athlete-lore;
But none came forth to meet him, yielding all
To him, the elder-born, with reverent awe.
So in their midst gave Thetis unto him
A chariot and fleet steeds, which theretofore
Mighty Patroclus from the ranks of Troy
Drave, when he slew Sarpedon, seed of Zeus,
These to his henchmen gave Idomeneus
To drive unto the ships: himself remained
Still sitting in the glorious athlete-ring.
Then Phoenix to the stalwart Argives cried:
"Now to Idomeneus the Gods have given
A fair prize uncontested, free of toil
Of mighty arms and shoulders, honouring
The elder-born with bloodless victory.
But lo, ye younger men, another prize
Awaiteth the swift play of cunning hands.
Step forth then: gladden great Peleides' soul."
He spake, they heard; but each on other looked,
And, loth to essay the contest, all sat still,
Till Neleus' son rebuked those laggard souls:
"Friends, it were shame that men should shun the play
Of clenched hands, who in that noble sport
Have skill, wherein young men delight, which links
Glory to toil. Ah that my thews were strong
As when we held King Pelias' funeral-feast,
I and Acastus, kinsmen joining hands,
When I with godlike Polydeuces stood
In gauntlet-strife, in even-balanced fray,
And when Ancaeus in the wrestlers' ring
Mightier than all beside, yet feared and shrank
From me, and dared not strive with me that day,
For that ere then amidst the Epeian men --
No battle-blenchers they! -- I had vanquished him,
For all his might, and dashed him to the dust
By dead Amaryncus' tomb, and thousands round
Sat marvelling at my prowess and my strength.
Therefore against me not a second time
Raised he his hands, strong wrestler though he were;
And so I won an uncontested prize.
But now old age is on me, and many griefs.
Therefore I bid you, whom it well beseems,
To win the prize; for glory crowns the youth
Who bears away the meed of athlete-strife."
Stirred by his gallant chiding, a brave man
Rose, son of haughty godlike Panopeus,
The man who framed the Horse, the bane of Troy,
Not long thereafter. None dared meet him now
In play of fists, albeit in deadly craft