The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
Daunted ye saw returning many folk:
Few won by sweat of toil the sacred height.
And there were reapers moving down long swaths
Swinging the whetted sickles: 'neath their hands
The hot work sped to its close. Hard after these
Many sheaf-binders followed, and the work
Grew passing great. With yoke-bands on their necks
Oxen were there, whereof some drew the wains
Heaped high with full-eared sheaves, and further on
Were others ploughing, and the glebe showed black
Behind them. Youths with ever-busy goads
Followed: a world of toil was there portrayed.
And there a banquet was, with pipe and harp,
Dances of maids, and flashing feet of boys,
All in swift movement, like to living souls.
Hard by the dance and its sweet winsomeness
Out of the sea was rising lovely-crowned
Cypris, foam-blossoms still upon her hair;
And round her hovered smiling witchingly
Desire, and danced the Graces lovely-tressed.
And there were lordly Nereus' Daughters shown
Leading their sister up from the wide sea
To her espousals with the warrior-king.
And round her all the Immortals banqueted
On Pelion's ridge far-stretching. All about
Lush dewy watermeads there were, bestarred
With flowers innumerable, grassy groves,
And springs with clear transparent water bright.
There ships with sighing sheets swept o'er the sea,
Some beating up to windward, some that sped
Before a following wind, and round them heaved
The melancholy surge. Seared shipmen rushed
This way and that, adread for tempest-gusts,
Hauling the white sails in, to 'scape the death --
It all seemed real -- some tugging at the oars,
While the dark sea on either side the ship
Grew hoary 'neath the swiftly-plashing blades.
And there triumphant the Earth-shaker rode
Amid sea-monsters' stormy-footed steeds
Drew him, and seemed alive, as o'er the deep
They raced, oft smitten by the golden whip.
Around their path of flight the waves fell smooth,
And all before them was unrippled calm.
Dolphins on either hand about their king
Swarmed, in wild rapture of homage bowing backs,
And seemed like live things o'er the hazy sea
Swimming, albeit all of silver wrought.
Marvels of untold craft were imaged there
By cunning-souled Hephaestus' deathless hands
Upon the shield. And Ocean's fathomless flood
Clasped like a garland all the outer rim,
And compassed all the strong shield's curious work.
And therebeside the massy helmet lay.
Zeus in his wrath was set upon the crest
Throned on heaven's dome; the Immortals all around
Fierce-battling with the Titans fought for Zeus.