Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Quintus
Pages of The Fall of Troy (book 7 - 14)



Previous | Next
                  

The Fall of Troy (book 7 - 14)   


Never his groaning ceased, for evermore
The ulcerous black wound, eating to the bone,
Festered with thrills of agonizing pain.
As when a beetling cliff, by seething seas
Aye buffeted, is carved and underscooped,
For all its stubborn strength, by tireless waves,
Till, scourged by winds and lashed by tempest-flails,
The sea into deep caves hath gnawed its base;
So greater 'neath his foot grew evermore
The festering wound, dealt when the envenomed fangs
Tare him of that fell water-snake, which men
Say dealeth ghastly wounds incurable,
When the hot sun hath parched it as it crawls
Over the sands; and so that mightiest man
Lay faint and wasted with his cureless pain;
And from the ulcerous wound aye streamed to earth
Fetid corruption fouling all the floor
Of that wide cave, a marvel to be heard
Of men unborn. Beside his stony bed
Lay a long quiver full of arrows, some
For hunting, some to smite his foes withal;
With deadly venom of that fell water-snake
Were these besmeared. Before it, nigh to his hand,
Lay the great bow, with curving tips of horn,
Wrought by the mighty hands of Hercules.

Now when that solitary spied these twain
Draw nigh his cave, he sprang to his bow, he laid
The deadly arrow on the string; for now
Fierce memory of his wrongs awoke against
These, who had left him years agone, in pain
Groaning upon the desolate sea-shore.
Yea, and his heart's stem will he had swiftly wrought,
But, even as upon that godlike twain
He gazed, Athena caused his bitter wrath
To melt away. Then drew they nigh to him
With looks of sad compassion, and sat down
On either hand beside him in the cave,
And of his deadly wound and grievous pangs
Asked; and he told them all his sufferings.
And they spake hope and comfort; and they said:
"Thy woeful wound, thine anguish, shall be healed,
If thou but come with us to Achaea's host --
The host that now is sorrowing after thee
With all its kings. And no man of them all
Was cause of thine affliction, but the Fates,
The cruel ones, whom none that walk the earth
Escape, but aye they visit hapless men
Unseen; and day by day with pitiless hearts
Now they afflict men, now again exalt
To honour -- none knows why; for all the woes
And all the joys of men do these devise
After their pleasure." Hearkening he sat
To Odysseus and to godlike Diomede;
And all the hoarded wrath for olden wrongs
And all the torturing rage, melted away.

Straight to the strand dull-thundering and the ship,
Laughing for joy, they bare him with his bow.
There washed they all his body and that foul wound
With sponges, and with plenteous water bathed:
So was his soul refreshed. Then hasted they
And made meat ready for the famished man,
And in the galley supped with him. Then came

Previous | Next
Site Search