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The Fall of Troy (book 7 - 14)   


The Danaan ships and men, wouldst slay us all
Wretchedly -- but the Gods would not fulfil
Thy wish. For all thy might invincible,
My father's massy spear hath now subdued
Thee under me, that spear no man shall 'scape,
Though he be brass all through, who faceth me."

He spake, and tore the long lance from the corse,
While shrank the Trojans back in dread, at sight
Of that strong-hearted man. Straightway he stripped
The armour from the dead, for friends to bear
Fast to the ships Achaean. But himself
To the swift chariot and the tireless steeds
Sprang, and sped onward like a thunderbolt
That lightning-girdled leaps through the wide air
From Zeus's hands unconquerable -- the bolt
Before whose downrush all the Immortals quail
Save only Zeus. It rusheth down to earth,
It rendeth trees and rugged mountain-crags;
So rushed he on the Trojans, flashing doom
Before their eyes; dashed to the earth they fell
Before the charge of those immortal steeds:
The earth was heaped with slain, was dyed with gore.
As when in mountain-glens the unnumbered leaves
Down-streaming thick and fast hide all the ground,
So hosts of Troy untold on earth were strewn
By Neoptolemus and fierce-hearted Greeks,
Shed by whose hands the blood in torrents ran
'Neath feet of men and horses. Chariot-rails
Were dashed with blood-spray whirled up from the tyres.

Now had the Trojans fled within their gates
As calves that flee a lion, or as swine
Flee from a storm -- but murderous Ares came,
Unmarked of other Gods, down from the heavens,
Eager to help the warrior sons of Troy.
Red-fire and Flame, Tumult and Panic-fear,
His car-steeds, bare him down into the fight,
The coursers which to roaring Boreas
Grim-eyed Erinnys bare, coursers that breathed
Life-blasting flame: groaned all the shivering air,
As battleward they sped. Swiftly he came
To Troy: loud rang the earth beneath the feet
Of that wild team. Into the battle's heart
Tossing his massy spear, he came; with a shout
He cheered the Trojans on to face the foe.
They heard, and marvelled at that wondrous cry,
Not seeing the God's immortal form, nor steeds,
Veiled in dense mist. But the wise prophet-soul
Of Helenus knew the voice divine that leapt
Unto the Trojans' ears, they knew not whence,
And with glad heart to the fleeing host he cried:
"O cravens, wherefore fear Achilles' son,
Though ne'er so brave? He is mortal even as we;
His strength is not as Ares' strength, who is come
A very present help in our sore need.
That was his shout far-pealing, bidding us
Fight on against the Argives. Let your hearts
Be strong, O friends: let courage fill your breasts.
No mightier battle-helper can draw nigh
To Troy than he. Who is of more avail
For war than Ares, when he aideth men
Hard-fighting? Lo, to our help he cometh now!
On to the fight! Cast to the winds your fears!"

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