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The Fall of Troy (book 7 - 14)   


A thousand times he kissed her, then at last
Left her alone with her own grief and moan
There in her father's halls. As o'er her nest
A swallow in her anguish cries aloud
For her lost nestlings which, mid piteous shrieks,
A fearful serpent hath devoured, and wrung
The loving mother's heart; and now above
That empty cradle spreads her wings, and now
Flies round its porchway fashioned cunningly
Lamenting piteously her little ones:
So for her child Deidameia mourned.
Now on her son's bed did she cast herself,
Crying aloud, against his door-post now
She leaned, and wept: now laid she in her lap
Those childhood's toys yet treasured in her bower,
Wherein his babe-heart joyed long years agone.
She saw a dart there left behind of him,
And kissed it o'er and o'er yea, whatso else
Her weeping eyes beheld that was her son's.

Naught heard he of her moans unutterable,
But was afar, fast striding to the ship.
He seemed, as his feet swiftly bare him on,
Like some all-radiant star; and at his side
With Tydeus' son war-wise Odysseus went,
And with them twenty gallant-hearted men,
Whom Deidameia chose as trustiest
Of all her household, and unto her son
Gave them for henchmen swift to do his will.
And these attended Achilles' valiant son,
As through the city to the ship he sped.
On, with glad laughter, in their midst he strode;
And Thetis and the Nereids joyed thereat.
Yea, glad was even the Raven-haired, the Lord
Of all the sea, beholding that brave son
Of princely Achilles, marking how he longed
For battle. Beardless boy albeit he was,
His prowess and his might were inward spurs
To him. He hasted forth his fatherland
Like to the War-god, when to gory strife
He speedeth, wroth with foes, when maddeneth
His heart, and grim his frown is, and his eyes
Flash levin-flame around him, and his face
Is clothed with glory of beauty terror-blent,
As on he rusheth: quail the very Gods.
So seemed Achilles' goodly son; and prayers
Went up through all the city unto Heaven
To bring their noble prince safe back from war;
And the Gods hearkened to them. High he towered
Above all stateliest men which followed him.

So came they to the heavy-plunging sea,
And found the rowers in the smooth-wrought ship
Handling the tackle, fixing mast and sail.
Straightway they went aboard: the shipmen cast
The hawsers loose, and heaved the anchor-stones,
The strength and stay of ships in time of need.
Then did the Sea-queen's lord grant voyage fair
To these with gracious mind; for his heart yearned
O'er the Achaeans, by the Trojan men
And mighty-souled Eurypylus hard-bestead.
On either side of Neoptolemus sat
Those heroes, gladdening his soul with tales
Of his sire's mighty deeds -- of all he wrought

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