The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
In seeing all these ills. Who could rejoice
Beholding strivings, struggles of despair?
Come, let us, which be yet alive, in haste
Flee in the ships, each to his several land,
Since Aias and Achilles both are dead.
I look not, now they are slain, that we the rest
Shall 'scape destruction; nay, but we shall fall
Before yon terrible Trojans for my sake
And shameless Helen's! Think not that I care
For her: for you I care, when I behold
Good men in battle slain. Away with her --
Her and her paltry paramour! The Gods
Stole all discretion out of her false heart
When she forsook mine home and marriage-bed.
Let Priam and the Trojans cherish her!
But let us straight return: 'twere better far
To flee from dolorous war than perish all."
So spake he but to try the Argive men.
Far other thoughts than these made his heart burn
With passionate desire to slay his foes,
To break the long walls of their city down
From their foundations, and to glut with blood
Ares, when Paris mid the slain should fall.
Fiercer is naught than passionate desire!
Thus as he pondered, sitting in his place,
Uprose Tydeides, shaker of the shield,
And chode in fiery speech with Menelaus:
"O coward Atreus' son, what craven fear
Hath gripped thee, that thou speakest so to us
As might a weakling child or woman speak?
Not unto thee Achaea's noblest sons
Will hearken, ere Troy's coronal of towers
Be wholly dashed to the dust: for unto men
Valour is high renown, and flight is shame!
If any man shall hearken to the words
Of this thy counsel, I will smite from him
His head with sharp blue steel, and hurl it down
For soaring kites to feast on. Up! all ye
Who care to enkindle men to battle: rouse
Our warriors all throughout the fleet to whet
The spear, to burnish corslet, helm and shield;
And cause both man and horse, all which be keen
In fight, to break their fast. Then in yon plain
Who is the stronger Ares shall decide."
So speaking, in his place he sat him down;
Then rose up Thestor's son, and in the midst,
Where meet it is to speak, stood forth and cried:
"Hear me, ye sons of battle-biding Greeks:
Ye know I have the spirit of prophecy.
Erewhile I said that ye in the tenth year
Should lay waste towered Ilium: this the Gods
Are even now fulfilling; victory lies
At the Argives' very feet. Come, let us send
Tydeides and Odysseus battle-staunch
With speed to Scyros overseas, by prayers
Hither to bring Achilles' hero son:
A light of victory shall he be to us."
So spake wise Thestius' son, and all the folk
Shouted for joy; for all their hearts and hopes
Yearned to see Calchas' prophecy fulfilled.
Then to the Argives spake Laertes' son: