The Fall of Troy (book 7 - 14)
Of Hector, who in life had dealt to them
Such havoc; therefore hated they his seed,
And down from that high rampart flung his child --
A wordless babe that nothing knew of war!
As when amid the mountains hungry wolves
Chase from the mother's side a suckling calf,
And with malignant cunning drive it o'er
An echoing cliffs edge, while runs to and fro
Its dam with long moans mourning her dear child,
And a new evil followeth hard on her,
For suddenly lions seize her for a prey;
So, as she agonized for her son, the foe
To bondage haled with other captive thralls
That shrieking daughter of King Eetion.
Then, as on those three fearful deaths she thought
Of husband, child, and father, Andromaehe
Longed sore to die. Yea, for the royally-born
Better it is to die in war, than do
The service of the thrall to baser folk.
All piteously the broken-hearted cried:
"Oh hurl my body also from the wall,
Or down the cliff, or cast me midst the fire,
Ye Argives! Woes are mine unutterable!
For Peleus' son smote down my noble father
In Thebe, and in Troy mine husband slew,
Who unto me was all mine heart's desire,
Who left me in mine halls one little child,
My darling and my pride -- of all mine hopes
In him fell merciless Fate hath cheated me!
Oh therefore thrust this broken-hearted one
Now out of life! Hale me not overseas
Mingled with spear-thralls; for my soul henceforth
Hath no more pleasure in life, since God hath slain
My nearest and my dearest! For me waits
Trouble and anguish and lone homelessness!"
So cried she, longing for the grave; for vile
Is life to them whose glory is swallowed up
Of shame: a horror is the scorn of men.
But, spite her prayers, to thraldom dragged they her.
In all the homes of Troy lay dying men,
And rose from all a lamentable cry,
Save only Antenor's halls; for unto him
The Argives rendered hospitality's debt,
For that in time past had his roof received
And sheltered godlike Menelaus, when
He with Odysseus came to claim his own.
Therefore the mighty sons of Achaea showed
Grace to him, as to a friend, and spared his life
And substance, fearing Themis who seeth all.
Then also princely Anchises' noble son --
Hard had he fought through Priam's burg that night
With spear and valour, and many had he slain --
When now he saw the city set aflame
By hands of foes, saw her folk perishing
In multitudes, her treasures spoiled, her wives
And children dragged to thraldom from their homes,
No more he hoped to see the stately walls
Of his birth-city, but bethought him now
How from that mighty ruin to escape.
And as the helmsman of a ship, who toils
On the deep sea, and matches all his craft