The Fall of Troy (book 1 - 6)
And not to cower beside the ships in dread
Of onset-shouts of battle-eager foes.
They met those charging hosts with hearts as light
As calves bear, when they leap to meet the kine
Down faring from hill-pastures in the spring
Unto the steading, when the fields are green
With corn-blades, when the earth is glad with flowers,
And bowls are brimmed with milk of kine and ewes,
And multitudinous lowing far and near
Uprises as the mothers meet their young,
And in their midst the herdman joys; so great
Was the uproar that rose when met the fronts
Of battle: dread it rang on either hand.
Hard-strained was then the fight: incarnate
Strife Stalked through the midst, with Slaughter ghastly-faced.
Crashed bull-hide shields, and spears, and helmet-crests
Meeting: the brass flashed out like leaping flames.
Bristled the battle with the lances; earth
Ran red with blood, as slaughtered heroes fell
And horses, mid a tangle of shattered ears,
Some yet with spear-wounds gasping, while on them
Others were falling. Through the air upshrieked
An awful indistinguishable roar;
For on both hosts fell iron-hearted Strife.
Here were men hurling cruel jagged stones,
There speeding arrows and new-whetted darts,
There with the axe or twibill hewing hard,
Slashing with swords, and thrusting out with spears:
Their mad hands clutched all manner of tools of death.
At first the Argives bore the ranks of Troy
Backward a little; but they rallied, charged,
Leapt on the foe, and drenched the field with blood.
Like a black hurricane rushed Eurypylus
Cheering his men on, hewing Argives down
Awelessly: measureless might was lent to him
By Zeus, for a grace to glorious Hercules.
Nireus, a man in beauty like the Gods,
His spear long-shafted stabbed beneath the ribs,
Down on the plain he fell, forth streamed the blood
Drenching his splendid arms, drenching the form
Glorious of mould, and his thick-clustering hair.
There mid the slain in dust and blood he lay,
Like a young lusty olive-sapling, which
A river rushing down in roaring flood,
Tearing its banks away, and cleaving wide
A chasm-channel, hath disrooted; low
It lieth heavy-blossomed; so lay then
The goodly form, the grace of loveliness
Of Nireus on earth's breast. But o'er the slain
Loud rang the taunting of Eurypylus:
"Lie there in dust! Thy beauty marvellous
Naught hath availed thee! I have plucked thee away
From life, to which thou wast so fain to cling.
Rash fool, who didst defy a mightier man
Unknowing! Beauty is no match for strength!"
He spake, and leapt upon the slain to strip
His goodly arms: but now against him came
Machaon wroth for Nireus, by his side
Doom-overtaken. With his spear he drave
At his right shoulder: strong albeit he was,
He touched him, and blood spurted from the gash.
Yet, ere he might leap back from grapple of death,