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The Fall of Troy (book 7 - 14)   


Softly and fearlessly; and they obeyed
That battle-summons, pressing in hot haste
To leap to earth: but in his subtlety
He stayed them from all thrusting eagerly forth.
But first himself with swift unfaltering hands,
Helped of Epeius, here and there unbarred
The ribs of the Horse of beams: above the planks
A little he raised his head, and gazed around
On all sides, if he haply might descry
One Trojan waking yet. As when a wolf,
With hunger stung to the heart, comes from the hills,
And ravenous for flesh draws nigh the flock
Penned in the wide fold, slinking past the men
And dogs that watch, all keen to ward the sheep,
Then o'er the fold-wall leaps with soundless feet;
So stole Odysseus down from the Horse: with him
Followed the war-fain lords of Hellas' League,
Orderly stepping down the ladders, which
Epeius framed for paths of mighty men,
For entering and for passing forth the Horse,
Who down them now on this side, that side, streamed
As fearless wasps startled by stroke of axe
In angry mood pour all together forth
From the tree-bole, at sound of woodman's blow;
So battle-kindled forth the Horse they poured
Into the midst of that strong city of Troy
With hearts that leapt expectant. [With swift hands
Snatched they the brands from dying hearths, and fired
Temple and palace. Onward then to the gates
Sped they,] and swiftly slew the slumbering guards,
[Then held the gate-towers till their friends should come.]
Fast rowed the host the while; on swept the ships
Over the great flood: Thetis made their paths
Straight, and behind them sent a driving wind
Speeding them, and the hearts Achaean glowed.
Swiftly to Hellespont's shore they came, and there
Beached they the keels again, and deftly dealt
With whatso tackling appertains to ships.
Then leapt they aland, and hasted on to Troy
Silent as sheep that hurry to the fold
From woodland pasture on an autumn eve;
So without sound of voices marched they on
Unto the Trojans' fortress, eager all
To help those mighty chiefs with foes begirt.
Now these -- as famished wolves fierce-glaring round
Fall on a fold mid the long forest-hills,
While sleeps the toil-worn watchman, and they rend
The sheep on every hand within the wall
In darkness, and all round [are heaped the slain;
So these within the city smote and slew,
As swarmed the awakened foe around them; yet,
Fast as they slew, aye faster closed on them
Those thousands, mad to thrust them from the gates.]
Slipping in blood and stumbling o'er the dead
[Their line reeled,] and destruction loomed o'er them,
Though Danaan thousands near and nearer drew.

But when the whole host reached the walls of Troy,
Into the city of Priam, breathing rage
Of fight, with reckless battle-lust they poured;
And all that fortress found they full of war
And slaughter, palaces, temples, horribly
Blazing on all sides; glowed their hearts with joy.
In deadly mood then charged they on the foe.

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