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The Fall of Troy (book 7 - 14)   


Yet must their onrush give back from the hounds
And fearless onset of the shepherd folk;
[So from these new defenders shrank the foe]
A little, far as one may hurl a stone
Exceeding great; for still Eurypylus
Suffered them not to flee far from the ships,
But cheered them on to bide the brunt, until
The ships be won, and all the Argives slain;
For Zeus with measureless might thrilled all his frame.
Then seized he a rugged stone and huge, and leapt
And hurled it full against the high-built wall.
It crashed, and terribly boomed that rampart steep
To its foundations. Terror gripped the Greeks,
As though that wall had crumbled down in dust;
Yet from the deadly conflict flinched they not,
But stood fast, like to jackals or to wolves
Bold robbers of the sheep -- when mid the hills
Hunter and hound would drive them forth their caves,
Being grimly purposed there to slay their whelps.
Yet these, albeit tormented by the darts,
Flee not, but for their cubs' sake bide and fight;
So for the ships' sake they abode and fought,
And for their own lives. But Eurypylus
Afront of all the ships stood, taunting them:
"Coward and dastard souls! no darts of yours
Had given me pause, nor thrust back from your ships,
Had not your rampart stayed mine onset-rush.
Ye are like to dogs, that in a forest flinch
Before a lion! Skulking therewithin
Ye are fighting -- nay, are shrinking back from death!
But if ye dare come forth on Trojan ground,
As once when ye were eager for the fray,
None shall from ghastly death deliver you:
Slain by mine hand ye all shall lie in dust!"

So did he shout a prophecy unfulfilled,
Nor heard Doom's chariot-wheels fast rolling near
Bearing swift death at Neoptolemus' hands,
Nor saw death gleaming from his glittering spear.
Ay, and that hero paused not now from fight,
But from the ramparts smote the Trojans aye.
From that death leaping from above they quailed
In tumult round Eurypylus: deadly fear
Gripped all their hearts. As little children cower
About a father's knees when thunder of Zeus
Crashes from cloud to cloud, when all the air
Shudders and groans, so did the sons of Troy,
With those Ceteians round their great king, cower
Ever as prince Neoptolemus hurled; for death
Rode upon all he cast, and bare his wrath
Straight rushing down upon the heads of foes.
Now in their hearts those wildered Trojans said
That once more they beheld Achilles' self
Gigantic in his armour. Yet they hid
That horror in their breasts, lest panic fear
Should pass from them to the Ceteian host
And king Eurypylus; so on every side
They wavered 'twixt the stress of their hard strait
And that blood-curdling dread, 'twixt shame and fear.
As when men treading a precipitous path
Look up, and see adown the mountain-slope
A torrent rushing on them, thundering down
The rocks, and dare not meet its clamorous flood,
But hurry shuddering on, with death in sight

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