The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
To ransom strong Lycaon from his hands.
These had Hephaestus fashioned for his gift
To glorious Dionysus, when he brought
His bride divine to Olympus, Minos' child
Far-famous, whom in sea-washed Dia's isle
Theseus unwitting left. The Wine-god brimmed
With nectar these, and gave them to his son;
And Thoas at his death to Hypsipyle
With great possessions left them. She bequeathed
The bowls to her godlike son, who gave them up
Unto Achilles for Lycaon's life.
The one the son of lordly Theseus took,
And goodly Epeius sent to his ship with joy
The other. Then their bruises and their scars
Did Podaleirius tend with loving care.
First pressed he out black humours, then his hands
Deftly knit up the gashes: salves he laid
Thereover, given him by his sire of old,
Such as had virtue in one day to heal
The deadliest hurts, yea, seeming-cureless wounds.
Straight was the smart assuaged, and healed the scars
Upon their brows and 'neath their clustering hair
Then for the archery-test Oileus' son
Stood forth with Teucer, they which in the race
Erewhile contended. Far away from these
Agamemnon, lord of spears, set up a helm
Crested with plumes, and spake: "The master-shot
Is that which shears the hair-crest clean away."
Then straightway Aias shot his arrow first,
And smote the helm-ridge: sharply rang the brass.
Then Teucer second with most earnest heed
Shot: the swift shaft hath shorn the plume away.
Loud shouted all the people as they gazed,
And praised him without stint, for still his foot
Halted in pain, yet nowise marred his aim
When with his hands he sped the flying shaft.
Then Peleus' bride gave unto him the arms
Of godlike Troilus, the goodliest
Of all fair sons whom Hecuba had borne
In hallowed Troy; yet of his goodlihead
No joy she had; the prowess and the spear
Of fell Achilles reft his life from him.
As when a gardener with new-whetted scythe
Mows down, ere it may seed, a blade of corn
Or poppy, in a garden dewy-fresh
And blossom-flushed, which by a water-course
Crowdeth its blooms -- mows it ere it may reach
Its goal of bringing offspring to the birth,
And with his scythe-sweep makes its life-work vain
And barren of all issue, nevermore
Now to be fostered by the dews of spring;
So did Peleides cut down Priam's son
The god-like beautiful, the beardless yet
And virgin of a bride, almost a child!
Yet the Destroyer Fate had lured him on
To war, upon the threshold of glad youth,
When youth is bold, and the heart feels no void.
Forthwith a bar of iron massy and long
From the swift-speeding hand did many essay
To hurl; but not an Argive could prevail
To cast that ponderous mass. Aias alone
Sped it from his strong hand, as in the time