The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
Already were their foes enwrapped with flame,
For thick and fast as snowflakes poured from heaven
The thunderbolts: the might of Zeus was roused,
And burning giants seemed to breathe out flames.
And therebeside the fair strong corslet lay,
Unpierceable, which clasped Peleides once:
There were the greaves close-lapping, light alone
To Achilles; massy of mould and huge they were.
And hard by flashed the sword whose edge and point
No mail could turn, with golden belt, and sheath
Of silver, and with haft of ivory:
Brightest amid those wondrous arms it shone.
Stretched on the earth thereby was that dread spear,
Long as the tall-tressed pines of Pelion,
Still breathing out the reek of Hector's blood.
Then mid the Argives Thetis sable-stoled
In her deep sorrow for Achilles spake;
"Now all the athlete-prizes have been won
Which I set forth in sorrow for my child.
Now let that mightiest of the Argives come
Who rescued from the foe my dead: to him
These glorious and immortal arms I give
Which even the blessed Deathless joyed to see."
Then rose in rivalry, each claiming them,
Laertes' seed and godlike Telamon's son,
Aias, the mightiest far of Danaan men:
He seemed the star that in the glittering sky
Outshines the host of heaven, Hesperus,
So splendid by Peleides' arms he stood;
"And let these judge," he cried, "Idomeneus,
Nestor, and kingly-counselled Agamemnon,"
For these, he weened, would sureliest know the truth
Of deeds wrought in that glorious battle-toil.
"To these I also trust most utterly,"
Odysseus said, "for prudent of their wit
Be these, and princeliest of all Danaan men."
But to Idomeneus and Atreus' son
Spake Nestor apart, and willingly they heard:
"Friends, a great woe and unendurable
This day the careless Gods have laid on us,
In that into this lamentable strife
Aias the mighty hath been thrust by them
Against Odysseus passing-wise. For he,
To whichsoe'er God gives the victor's glory --
O yea, he shall rejoice! But he that 1oseth --
All for the grief in all the Danaans' hearts
For him! And ours shall be the deepest grief
Of all; for that man will not in the war
Stand by us as of old. A sorrowful day
It shall be for us, whichsoe'er of these
Shall break into fierce anger, seeing they
Are of our heroes chiefest, this in war,
And that in counsel. Hearken then to me,
Seeing that I am older far than ye,
Not by a few years only: with mine age
Is prudence joined, for I have suffered and wrought
Much; and in counsel ever the old man,
Who knoweth much, excelleth younger men.
Therefore let us ordain to judge this cause