The Fall of Troy (book 7 - 14)
To none in valour, but in council bow
Before thine elders: so shall all acclaim
Thy courtesy. Honour princely men and wise;
For the true man is still the true man's friend,
Even as the vile man cleaveth to the knave.
If good thy thought be, good shall be thy deeds:
But no man shall attain to Honour's height,
Except his heart be right within: her stem
Is hard to climb, and high in heaven spread
Her branches: only they whom strength and toil
Attend, strain up to pluck her blissful fruit,
Climbing the Tree of Honour glow-crowned.
Thou therefore follow fame, and let thy soul
Be not in sorrow afflicted overmuch,
Nor in prosperity over-glad. To friends,
To comrades, child and wife, be kindly of heart,
Remembering still that near to all men stand
The gates of doom, the mansions of the dead:
For humankind are like the flower of grass,
The blossom of spring; these fade the while those bloom:
Therefore be ever kindly with thy kind.
Now to the Argives say -- to Atreus' son
Agamemnon chiefly -- if my battle-toil
Round Priam's walls, and those sea-raids I led
Or ever I set foot on Trojan land,
Be in their hearts remembered, to my tomb
Be Priam's daughter Polyxeina led --
Whom as my portion of the spoil I claim --
And sacrificed thereon: else shall my wrath
Against them more than for Briseis burn.
The waves of the great deep will I turmoil
To bar their way, upstirring storm on storm,
That through their own mad folly pining away
Here they may linger long, until to me
They pour drink-offerings, yearning sore for home.
But, when they have slain the maiden, I grudge not
That whoso will may bury her far from me."
Then as a wind-breath swift he fleeted thence,
And came to the Elysian Plain, whereto
A path to heaven reacheth, for the feet
Ascending and descending of the Blest.
Then the son started up from sleep, and called
His sire to mind, and glowed the heart in him.
When to wide heaven the Child of Mist uprose,
Scattering night, unveiling earth and air,
Then from their rest upsprang Achaea's sons
Yearning for home. With laughter 'gan they hale
Down to the sea the keels: but lo, their haste
Was reined in by Achilles' mighty son:
He assembled them, and told his sire's behest:
"Hearken, dear sons of Argives battle-staunch,
To this my glorious father's hest, to me
Spoken in darkness slumbering on my bed:
He saith, he dwells with the Immortal Gods:
He biddeth you and Atreus' son the king
To bring, as his war-guerdon passing-fair,
To his dim dark tomb Polyxeina queenly-robed,
To slay her there, but far thence bury her.
But if ye slight him, and essay to sail
The sea, he threateneth to stir up the waves
To bar your path upon the deep, and here