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Medieval and Classical Library

The Fall of Troy

BOOK VI
How came for the helping of Troy Eurypylus, Hercules' grandson.

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #18b


     Rose Dawn from Ocean and Tithonus' bed,
     And climbed the steeps of heaven, scattering round
     Flushed flakes of splendour; laughed all earth and air.
     Then turned unto their labours, each to each,
     Mortals, frail creatures daily dying.  Then
     Streamed to a folkmote all the Achaean men
     At Menelaus' summons.  When the host
     Were gathered all, then in their midst he spake:
     "Hearken my words, ye god-descended kings:
10   Mine heart within my breast is burdened sore
     For men which perish, men that for my sake
     Came to the bitter war, whose home-return
     Parents and home shall welcome nevermore;
     For Fate hath cut off thousands in their prime.
     Oh that the heavy hand of death had fallen
     On me, ere hitherward I gathered these!
     But now hath God laid on me cureless pain
     In seeing all these ills.  Who could rejoice
     Beholding strivings, struggles of despair?
20   Come, let us, which be yet alive, in haste
     Flee in the ships, each to his several land,
     Since Aias and Achilles both are dead.
     I look not, now they are slain, that we the rest
     Shall 'scape destruction; nay, but we shall fall
     Before yon terrible Trojans for my sake
     And shameless Helen's!  Think not that I care
     For her: for you I care, when I behold
     Good men in battle slain.  Away with her --
     Her and her paltry paramour!  The Gods
30   Stole all discretion out of her false heart
     When she forsook mine home and marriage-bed.
     Let Priam and the Trojans cherish her!
     But let us straight return: 'twere better far
     To flee from dolorous war than perish all."

     So spake he but to try the Argive men.
     Far other thoughts than these made his heart burn
     With passionate desire to slay his foes,
     To break the long walls of their city down
     From their foundations, and to glut with blood
40   Ares, when Paris mid the slain should fall.
     Fiercer is naught than passionate desire!
     Thus as he pondered, sitting in his place,
     Uprose Tydeides, shaker of the shield,
     And chode in fiery speech with Menelaus:
     "O coward Atreus' son, what craven fear
     Hath gripped thee, that thou speakest so to us
     As might a weakling child or woman speak?
     Not unto thee Achaea's noblest sons
     Will hearken, ere Troy's coronal of towers
50   Be wholly dashed to the dust: for unto men
     Valour is high renown, and flight is shame!
     If any man shall hearken to the words
     Of this thy counsel, I will smite from him
     His head with sharp blue steel, and hurl it down
     For soaring kites to feast on.  Up!  all ye
     Who care to enkindle men to battle: rouse
     Our warriors all throughout the fleet to whet
     The spear, to burnish corslet, helm and shield;
     And cause both man and horse, all which be keen
60   In fight, to break their fast.  Then in yon plain
     Who is the stronger Ares shall decide."

     So speaking, in his place he sat him down;
     Then rose up Thestor's son, and in the midst,
     Where meet it is to speak, stood forth and cried:
     "Hear me, ye sons of battle-biding Greeks:
     Ye know I have the spirit of prophecy.
     Erewhile I said that ye in the tenth year
     Should lay waste towered Ilium: this the Gods
     Are even now fulfilling; victory lies
70   At the Argives' very feet.  Come, let us send
     Tydeides and Odysseus battle-staunch
     With speed to Scyros overseas, by prayers
     Hither to bring Achilles' hero son:
     A light of victory shall he be to us."

     So spake wise Thestius' son, and all the folk
     Shouted for joy; for all their hearts and hopes
     Yearned to see Calchas' prophecy fulfilled.
     Then to the Argives spake Laertes' son:
     "Friends, it befits not to say many words
80   This day to you, in sorrow's weariness.
     I know that wearied men can find no joy
     In speech or song, though the Pierides,
     The immortal Muses, love it.  At such time
     Few words do men desire.  But now, this thing
     That pleaseth all the Achaean host, will I
     Accomplish, so Tydeides fare with me;
     For, if we twain go, we shall surely bring,
     Won by our words, war-fain Achilles' son,
     Yea, though his mother, weeping sore, should strive
90   Within her halls to keep him; for mine heart
     Trusts that he is a hero's valorous son."

     Then out spake Menelaus earnestly:
     "Odysseus, the strong Argives' help at need,
     If mighty-souled Achilles' valiant son
     From Scyros by thy suasion come to aid
     Us who yearn for him, and some Heavenly One
     Grant victory to our prayers, and I win home
     To Hellas, I will give to him to wife
     My noble child Hermione, with gifts
100  Many and goodly for her marriage-dower
     With a glad heart.  I trow he shall not scorn
     Either his bride or high-born sire-in-law."

     With a great shout the Danaans hailed his words.
     Then was the throng dispersed, and to the ships
     They scattered hungering for the morning meat
     Which strengtheneth man's heart.  So when they ceased
     From eating, and desire was satisfied,
     Then with the wise Odysseus Tydeus' son
     Drew down a swift ship to the boundless sea,
110  And victual and all tackling cast therein.
     Then stepped they aboard, and with them twenty men,
     Men skilled to row when winds were contrary,
     Or when the unrippled sea slept 'neath a calm.
     They smote the brine, and flashed the boiling foam:
     On leapt the ship; a watery way was cleft
     About the oars that sweating rowers tugged.
     As when hard-toiling oxen, 'neath the yoke
     Straining, drag on a massy-timbered wain,
     While creaks the circling axle 'neath its load,
120  And from their weary necks and shoulders streams
     Down to the ground the sweat abundantly;
     So at the stiff oars toiled those stalwart men,
     And fast they laid behind them leagues of sea.
     Gazed after them the Achaeans as they went,
     Then turned to whet their deadly darts and spears,
     The weapons of their warfare.  In their town
     The aweless Trojans armed themselves the while
     War-eager, praying to the Gods to grant
     Respite from slaughter, breathing-space from toil.

130  To these, while sorely thus they yearned, the Gods
     Brought present help in trouble, even the seed
     Of mighty Hercules, Eurypylus.
     A great host followed him, in battle skilled,
     All that by long Caicus' outflow dwelt,
     Full of triumphant trust in their strong spears.
     Round them rejoicing thronged the sons of Troy:
     As when tame geese within a pen gaze up
     On him who casts them corn, and round his feet
     Throng hissing uncouth love, and his heart warms
140  As he looks down on them; so thronged the sons
     Of Troy, as on fierce-heart Eurypylus
     They gazed; and gladdened was his aweless soul
     To see those throngs: from porchways women looked
     Wide-eyed with wonder on the godlike man.
     Above all men he towered as on he strode,
     As looks a lion when amid the hills
     He comes on jackals.  Paris welcomed him,
     As Hector honouring him, his cousin he,
     Being of one blood with him, who was born Of
150  Astyoche, King Priam's sister fair
     Whom Telephus embraced in his strong arms,
     Telephus, whom to aweless Hercules
     Auge the bright-haired bare in secret love.
     That babe, a suckling craving for the breast,
     A swift hind fostered, giving him the teat
     As to her own fawn in all love; for Zeus
     So willed it, in whose eyes it was not meet
     That Hercules' child should perish wretchedly.
     His glorious son with glad heart Paris led
160  Unto his palace through the wide-wayed burg
     Beside Assaracus' tomb and stately halls
     Of Hector, and Tritonis' holy fane.
     Hard by his mansion stood, and therebeside
     The stainless altar of Home-warder Zeus
     Rose.  As they went, he lovingly questioned him
     Of brethren, parents, and of marriage-kin;
     And all he craved to know Eurypylus told.
     So communed they, on-pacing side by side.
     Then came they to a palace great and rich:
170  There goddess-like sat Helen, clothed upon
     With beauty of the Graces.  Maidens four
     About her plied their tasks: others apart
     Within that goodly bower wrought the works
     Beseeming handmaids.  Helen marvelling gazed
     Upon Eurypylus, on Helen he.
     Then these in converse each with other spake
     In that all-odorous bower.  The handmaids brought
     And set beside their lady high-seats twain;
     And Paris sat him down, and at his side
180  Eurypylus.  That hero's host encamped
     Without the city, where the Trojan guards
     Kept watch.  Their armour laid they on the earth;
     Their steeds, yet breathing battle, stood thereby,
     And cribs were heaped with horses' provender.

     Upfloated night, and darkened earth and air;
     Then feasted they before that cliff-like wall,
     Ceteian men and Trojans: babel of talk
     Rose from the feasters: all around the glow
     Of blazing campfires lighted up the tents:
190  Pealed out the pipe's sweet voice, and hautboys rang
     With their clear-shrilling reeds; the witching strain
     Of lyres was rippling round.  From far away
     The Argives gazed and marvelled, seeing the plain
     Aglare with many fires, and hearing notes
     Of flutes and lyres, neighing of chariot-steeds
     And pipes, the shepherd's and the banquet's joy.
     Therefore they bade their fellows each in turn
     Keep watch and ward about the tents till dawn,
     Lest those proud Trojans feasting by their walls
200  Should fall on them, and set the ships aflame.

     Within the halls of Paris all this while
     With kings and princes Telephus' hero son
     Feasted; and Priam and the sons of Troy
     Each after each prayed him to play the man
     Against the Argives, and in bitter doom
     To lay them low; and blithe he promised all.
     So when they had supped, each hied him to his home;
     But there Eurypylus laid him down to rest
     Full nigh the feast-hall, in the stately bower
210  Where Paris theretofore himself had slept
     With Helen world-renowned.  A bower it was
     Most wondrous fair, the goodliest of them all.
     There lay he down; but otherwhere their rest
     Took they, till rose the bright-throned Queen of Morn.
     Up sprang with dawn the son of Telephus,
     And passed to the host with all those other kings
     In Troy abiding.  Straightway did the folk
     All battle-eager don their warrior-gear,
     Burning to strike in forefront of the fight.
220  And now Eurypylus clad his mighty limbs
     In armour that like levin-flashes gleamed;
     Upon his shield by cunning hands were wrought
     All the great labours of strong Hercules.

     Thereon were seen two serpents flickering
     Black tongues from grimly jaws: they seemed in act
     To dart; but Hercules' hands to right and left --
     Albeit a babe's hands -- now were throttling them;
     For aweless was his spirit.  As Zeus' strength
     From the beginning was his strength.  The seed
230  Of Heaven-abiders never deedless is
     Nor helpless, but hath boundless prowess, yea,
     Even when in the womb unborn it lies.

     Nemea's mighty lion there was seen
     Strangled in the strong arms of Hercules,
     His grim jaws dashed about with bloody foam:
     He seemed in verity gasping out his life.

     Thereby was wrought the Hydra many-necked
     Flickering its dread tongues.  Of its fearful heads
     Some severed lay on earth, but many more
240  Were budding from its necks, while Hercules
     And Iolaus, dauntless-hearted twain,
     Toiled hard; the one with lightning sickle-sweeps
     Lopped the fierce heads, his fellow seared each neck
     With glowing iron; the monster so was slain.

     Thereby was wrought the mighty tameless Boar
     With foaming jaws; real seemed the pictured thing,
     As by Aleides' giant strength the brute
     Was to Eurystheus living borne on high.

     There fashioned was the fleetfoot stag which laid
250  The vineyards waste of hapless husbandmen.
     The Hero's hands held fast its golden horns,
     The while it snorted breath of ravening fire.

     Thereon were seen the fierce Stymphalian Birds,
     Some arrow-smitten dying in the dust,
     Some through the grey air darting in swift flight.
     At this, at that one -- hot in haste he seemed --
     Hercules sped the arrows of his wrath.

     Augeias' monstrous stable there was wrought
     With cunning craft on that invincible targe;
260  And Hercules was turning through the same
     The deep flow of Alpheius' stream divine,
     While wondering Nymphs looked down on every hand
     Upon that mighty work.  Elsewhere portrayed
     Was the Fire-breathing Bull: the Hero's grip
     On his strong horns wrenched round the massive neck:
     The straining muscles on his arm stood out:
     The huge beast seemed to bellow.  Next thereto
     Wrought on the shield was one in beauty arrayed
     As of a Goddess, even Hippolyta.
270  The hero by the hair was dragging her
     From her swift steed, with fierce resolve to wrest
     With his strong hands the Girdle Marvellous
     From the Amazon Queen, while quailing shrank away
     The Maids of War.  There in the Thracian land
     Were Diomedes' grim man-eating steeds:
     These at their gruesome mangers had he slain,
     And dead they lay with their fiend-hearted lord.

     There lay the bulk of giant Geryon
     Dead mid his kine.  His gory heads were cast
280  In dust, dashed down by that resistless club.
     Before him slain lay that most murderous hound
     Orthros, in furious might like Cerberus
     His brother-hound: a herdman lay thereby,
     Eurytion, all bedabbled with his blood.

     There were the Golden Apples wrought, that gleamed
     In the Hesperides' garden undefiled:
     All round the fearful Serpent's dead coils lay,
     And shrank the Maids aghast from Zeus' bold son.

     And there, a dread sight even for Gods to see,
290  Was Cerberus, whom the Loathly Worm had borne
     To Typho in a craggy cavern's gloom
     Close on the borders of Eternal Night,
     A hideous monster, warder of the Gate
     Of Hades, Home of Wailing, jailer-hound
     Of dead folk in the shadowy Gulf of Doom.
     But lightly Zeus' son with his crashing blows
     Tamed him, and haled him from the cataract flood
     Of Styx, with heavy-drooping head, and dragged
     The Dog sore loth to the strange upper air
300  All dauntlessly.  And there, at the world's end,
     Were Caucasus' long glens, where Hercules,
     Rending Prometheus' chains, and hurling them
     This way and that with fragments of the rock
     Whereinto they were riveted, set free
     The mighty Titan.  Arrow-smitten lay
     The Eagle of the Torment therebeside.

     There stormed the wild rout of the Centaurs round
     The hall of Pholus: goaded on by Strife
     And wine, with Hercules the monsters fought.
310  Amidst the pine-trunks stricken to death they lay
     Still grasping those strange weapons in dead hands,
     While some with stems long-shafted still fought on
     In fury, and refrained not from the strife;
     And all their heads, gashed in the pitiless fight,
     Were drenched with gore -- the whole scene seemed to live --
     With blood the wine was mingled: meats and bowls
     And tables in one ruin shattered lay.

     There by Evenus' torrent, in fierce wrath
     For his sweet bride, he laid with the arrow low
320  Nessus in mid-flight.  There withal was wrought
     Antaeus' brawny strength, who challenged him
     To wrestling-strife; he in those sinewy arms
     Raised high above the earth, was crushed to death.

     There where swift Hellespont meets the outer sea,
     Lay the sea-monster slain by his ruthless shafts,
     While from Hesione he rent her chains.

     Of bold Alcides many a deed beside
     Shone on the broad shield of Eurypylus.
     He seemed the War-god, as from rank to rank
330  He sped; rejoiced the Trojans following him,
     Seeing his arms, and him clothed with the might
     Of Gods; and Paris hailed him to the fray:
     "Glad am I for thy coming, for mine heart
     Trusts that the Argives all shall wretchedly
     Be with their ships destroyed; for such a man
     Mid Greeks or Trojans never have I seen.
     Now, by the strength and fury of Hercules --
     To whom in stature, might, and goodlihead
     Most like thou art I pray thee, have in mind
340  Him, and resolve to match his deeds with thine.
     Be the strong shield of Trojans hard-bestead:
     Win us a breathing-space.  Thou only, I trow,
     From perishing Troy canst thrust the dark doom back."

     With kindling words he spake.  That hero cried:
     "Great-hearted Paris, like the Blessed Ones
     In goodlihead, this lieth foreordained
     On the Gods' knees, who in the fight shall fall,
     And who outlive it.  I, as honour bids,
     And as my strength sufficeth, will not flinch
350  From Troy's defence.  I swear to turn from fight
     Never, except in victory or death."

     Gallantly spake he: with exceeding joy
     Rejoiced the Trojans.  Champions then he chose,
     Alexander and Aeneas fiery-souled,
     Polydamas, Pammon, and Deiphobus,
     And Aethicus, of Paphlagonian men
     The staunchest man to stem the tide of war;
     These chose he, cunning all in battle-toil,
     To meet the foe in forefront of the fight.
360  Swiftly they strode before that warrior-throng
     Then from the city cheering charged.  The host
     Followed them in their thousands, as when bees
     Follow by bands their leaders from the hives,
     With loud hum on a spring day pouring forth.
     So to the fight the warriors followed these;
     And, as they charged, the thunder-tramp of men
     And steeds, and clang of armour, rang to heaven.
     As when a rushing mighty wind stirs up
     The barren sea-plain from its nethermost floor,
370  And darkling to the strand roll roaring waves
     Belching sea-tangle from the bursting surf,
     And wild sounds rise from beaches harvestless;
     So, as they charged, the wide earth rang again.

     Now from their rampart forth the Argives poured
     Round godlike Agamemnon.  Rang their shouts
     Cheering each other on to face the fight,
     And not to cower beside the ships in dread
     Of onset-shouts of battle-eager foes.
     They met those charging hosts with hearts as light
380  As calves bear, when they leap to meet the kine
     Down faring from hill-pastures in the spring
     Unto the steading, when the fields are green
     With corn-blades, when the earth is glad with flowers,
     And bowls are brimmed with milk of kine and ewes,
     And multitudinous lowing far and near
     Uprises as the mothers meet their young,
     And in their midst the herdman joys; so great
     Was the uproar that rose when met the fronts
     Of battle: dread it rang on either hand.
390  Hard-strained was then the fight: incarnate
     Strife Stalked through the midst, with Slaughter
               ghastly-faced.
     Crashed bull-hide shields, and spears, and helmet-crests
     Meeting: the brass flashed out like leaping flames.
     Bristled the battle with the lances; earth
     Ran red with blood, as slaughtered heroes fell
     And horses, mid a tangle of shattered ears,
     Some yet with spear-wounds gasping, while on them
     Others were falling.  Through the air upshrieked
     An awful indistinguishable roar;
400  For on both hosts fell iron-hearted Strife.
     Here were men hurling cruel jagged stones,
     There speeding arrows and new-whetted darts,
     There with the axe or twibill hewing hard,
     Slashing with swords, and thrusting out with spears:
     Their mad hands clutched all manner of tools of death.

     At first the Argives bore the ranks of Troy
     Backward a little; but they rallied, charged,
     Leapt on the foe, and drenched the field with blood.
     Like a black hurricane rushed Eurypylus
410  Cheering his men on, hewing Argives down
     Awelessly: measureless might was lent to him
     By Zeus, for a grace to glorious Hercules.
     Nireus, a man in beauty like the Gods,
     His spear long-shafted stabbed beneath the ribs,
     Down on the plain he fell, forth streamed the blood
     Drenching his splendid arms, drenching the form
     Glorious of mould, and his thick-clustering hair.
     There mid the slain in dust and blood he lay,
     Like a young lusty olive-sapling, which
420  A river rushing down in roaring flood,
     Tearing its banks away, and cleaving wide
     A chasm-channel, hath disrooted; low
     It lieth heavy-blossomed; so lay then
     The goodly form, the grace of loveliness
     Of Nireus on earth's breast.  But o'er the slain
     Loud rang the taunting of Eurypylus:
     "Lie there in dust!  Thy beauty marvellous
     Naught hath availed thee!  I have plucked thee away
     From life, to which thou wast so fain to cling.
430  Rash fool, who didst defy a mightier man
     Unknowing!  Beauty is no match for strength!"

     He spake, and leapt upon the slain to strip
     His goodly arms: but now against him came
     Machaon wroth for Nireus, by his side
     Doom-overtaken.  With his spear he drave
     At his right shoulder: strong albeit he was,
     He touched him, and blood spurted from the gash.
     Yet, ere he might leap back from grapple of death,
     Even as a lion or fierce mountain-boar
440  Maddens mid thronging huntsmen, furious-fain
     To rend the man whose hand first wounded him;
     So fierce Eurypylus on Machaon rushed.
     The long lance shot out swiftly, and pierced him through
     On the right haunch; yet would he not give back,
     Nor flinch from the onset, fast though flowed the blood.
     In haste he snatched a huge stone from the ground,
     And dashed it on the head of Telephus' son;
     But his helm warded him from death or harm
     Then waxed Eurypylus more hotly wroth
450  With that strong warrior, and in fury of soul
     Clear through Machaon's breast he drave his spear,
     And through the midriff passed the gory point.
     He fell, as falls beneath a lion's jaws
     A bull, and round him clashed his glancing arms.
     Swiftly Eurypylus plucked the lance of death
     Out of the wound, and vaunting cried aloud:
     "Wretch, wisdom was not bound up in thine heart,
     That thou, a weakling, didst come forth to fight
     A mightier.  Therefore art thou in the toils
460  Of Doom.  Much profit shall be thine, when kites
     Devour the flesh of thee in battle slain!
     Ha, dost thou hope still to return, to 'scape
     Mine hands?  A leech art thou, and soothing salves
     Thou knowest, and by these didst haply hope
     To flee the evil day!  Not thine own sire,
     On the wind's wings descending from Olympus,
     Should save thy life, not though between thy lips
     He should pour nectar and ambrosia!"

     Faint-breathing answered him the dying man:
470  "Eurypylus, thine own weird is to live
     Not long: Fate is at point to meet thee here
     On Troy's plain, and to still thine impious tongue."

     So passed his spirit into Hades' halls.
     Then to the dead man spake his conqueror:
     "Now on the earth lie thou.  What shall betide
     Hereafter, care I not -- yea, though this day
     Death's doom stand by my feet: no man may live
     For ever: each man's fate is foreordained."

     Stabbing the corpse he spake.  Then shouted loud
480  Teucer, at seeing Machaon in the dust.
     Far thence he stood hard-toiling in the fight,
     For on the centre sore the battle lay:
     Foe after foe pressed on; yet not for this
     Was Teucer heedless of the fallen brave,
     Neither of Nireus lying hard thereby
     Behind Machaon in the dust.  He saw,

     And with a great voice raised the rescue-cry:
     "Charge, Argives!  Flinch not from the charging foe!
     For shame unspeakable shall cover us
490  If Trojan men hale back to Ilium
     Noble Machaon and Nireus godlike-fair.
     Come, with a good heart let us face the foe
     To rescue these slain friends, or fall ourselves
     Beside them.  Duty bids that men defend
     Friends, and to aliens leave them not a prey,
     Not without sweat of toil is glory won!"

     Then were the Danaans anguish-stung: the earth
     All round them dyed they red with blood of slain,
     As foe fought foe in even-balanced fight.
500  By this to Podaleirius tidings came
     How that in dust his brother lay, struck down
     By woeful death.  Beside the ships he sat
     Ministering to the hurts of men with spears
     Stricken.  In wrath for his brother's sake he rose,
     He clad him in his armour; in his breast
     Dread battle-prowess swelled.  For conflict grim
     He panted: boiled the mad blood round his heart
     He leapt amidst the foemen; his swift hands
     Swung the snake-headed javelin up, and hurled,
510  And slew with its winged speed Agamestor's son
     Cleitus, a bright-haired Nymph had given him birth
     Beside Parthenius, whose quiet stream
     Fleets smooth as oil through green lands, till it pours
     Its shining ripples to the Euxine sea.
     Then by his warrior-brother laid he low
     Lassus, whom Pronoe, fair as a goddess, bare
     Beside Nymphaeus' stream, hard by a cave,
     A wide and wondrous cave: sacred it is
     Men say, unto the Nymphs, even all that haunt
520  The long-ridged Paphlagonian hills, and all
     That by full-clustered Heracleia dwell.
     That cave is like the work of gods, of stone
     In manner marvellous moulded: through it flows
     Cold water crystal-clear: in niches round
     Stand bowls of stone upon the rugged rock,
     Seeming as they were wrought by carvers' hands.
     Statues of Wood-gods stand around, fair Nymphs,
     Looms, distaffs, all such things as mortal craft
     Fashioneth.  Wondrous seem they unto men
530  Which pass into that hallowed cave.  It hath,
     Up-leading and down-leading, doorways twain,
     Facing, the one, the wild North's shrilling blasts,
     And one the dank rain-burdened South.  By this
     Do mortals pass beneath the Nymphs' wide cave;
     But that is the Immortals' path: no man
     May tread it, for a chasm deep and wide
     Down-reaching unto Hades, yawns between.
     This track the Blest Gods may alone behold.
     So died a host on either side that warred
540  Over Machaon and Aglaia's son.
     But at the last through desperate wrestle of fight
     The Danaans rescued them: yet few were they
     Which bare them to the ships: by bitter stress
     Of conflict were the more part compassed round,
     And needs must still abide the battle's brunt.
     But when full many had filled the measure up
     Of fate, mid tumult, blood and agony,
     Then to their ships did many Argives flee
     Pressed by Eurypylus hard, an avalanche
550  Of havoc.  Yet a few abode the strife
     Round Aias and the Atreidae rallying;
     And haply these had perished all, beset
     By throngs on throngs of foes on every hand,
     Had not Oileus' son stabbed with his spear
     'Twixt shoulder and breast war-wise Polydamas;
     Forth gushed the blood, and he recoiled a space.
     Then Menelaus pierced Deiphobus
     By the right breast, that with swift feet he fled.
     And many of that slaughter-breathing throng
560  Were slain by Agamemnon: furiously
     He rushed on godlike Aethicus with the spear;
     But he shrank from the forefront back mid friends.

     Now when Eurypylus the battle-stay
     Marked how the ranks of Troy gave back from fight,
     He turned him from the host that he had chased
     Even to the ships, and rushed with eagle-swoop
     On Atreus' strong sons and Oileus' seed
     Stout-hearted, who was passing fleet of foot
     And in fight peerless.  Swiftly he charged on these
570  Grasping his spear long-shafted: at Iris side
     Charged Paris, charged Aeneas stout of heart,
     Who hurled a stone exceeding huge, that crashed
     On Aias' helmet: dashed to the dust he was,
     Yet gave not up the ghost, whose day of doom
     Was fate-ordained amidst Caphaerus' rocks
     On the home-voyage.  Now his valiant men
     Out of the foes' hands snatched him, bare him thence,
     Scarce drawing breath, to the Achaean ships.
     And now the Atreid kings, the war-renowned,
580  Were left alone, and murder-breathing foes
     Encompassed them, and hurled from every side
     Whate'er their hands might find the deadly shaft
     Some showered, some the stone, the javelin some.
     They in the midst aye turned this way and that,
     As boars or lions compassed round with pales
     On that day when kings gather to the sport
     The people, and have penned the mighty beasts
     Within the toils of death; but these, although
     With walls ringed round, yet tear with tusk and fang
590  What luckless thrall soever draweth near.
     So these death-compassed heroes slew their foes
     Ever as they pressed on.  Yet had their might
     Availed not for defence, for all their will,
     Had Teucer and Idomeneus strong of heart
     Come not to help, with Thoas, Meriones,
     And godlike Thrasymedes, they which shrank
     Erewhile before Eurypylus yea, had fled
     Unto the ships to 'scape the crushing doom,
     But that, in fear for Atreus' sons, they rallied
600  Against Eurypylus: deadly waxed the fight.

     Then Teucer with a mighty spear-thrust smote
     Aeneas' shield, yet wounded not his flesh,
     For the great fourfold buckler warded him;
     Yet feared he, and recoiled a little space.
     Leapt Meriones upon Laophoon
     The son of Paeon, born by Axius' flood
     Of bright-haired Cleomede.  Unto Troy
     With noble Asteropaeus had he come
     To aid her folk: him Meriones' keen spear
610  Stabbed 'neath the navel, and the lance-head tore
     His bowels forth; swift sped his soul away
     Into the Shadow-land.  Alcimedes,
     The warrior-friend of Aias, Oileus' son,
     Shot mid the press of Trojans; for he sped
     With taunting shout a sharp stone from a sling
     Into their battle's heart.  They quailed in fear
     Before the hum and onrush of the bolt.
     Fate winged its flight to the bold charioteer
     Of Pammon, Hippasus' son: his brow it smote
620  While yet he grasped the reins, and flung him stunned
     Down from the chariot-seat before the wheels.
     The rushing war-wain whirled his wretched form
     'Twixt tyres and heels of onward-leaping steeds,
     And awful death in that hour swallowed him
     When whip and reins had flown from his nerveless hands.
     Then grief thrilled Pammon: hard necessity
     Made him both chariot-lord and charioteer.
     Now to his doom and death-day had he bowed,
     Had not a Trojan through that gory strife
630  Leapt, grasped the reins, and saved the prince, when now
     His strength failed 'neath the murderous hands of foes.

     As godlike Acamas charged, the stalwart son
     Of Nestor thrust the spear above his knee,
     And with that wound sore anguish came on him:
     Back from the fight he drew; the deadly strife
     He left unto his comrades: quenched was now
     His battle-lust.  Eurypylus' henchman smote
     Echemmon, Thoas' friend, amidst the fray
640  Beneath the shoulder: nigh his heart the spear
     Passed bitter-biting: o'er his limbs brake out
     Mingled with blood cold sweat of agony.
     He turned to flee; Eurypylus' giant might
     Chased, caught him, shearing his heel-tendons through:
     There, where the blow fell, his reluctant feet
     Stayed, and the spirit left his mortal frame.
     Thoas pricked Paris with quick-thrusting spear
     On the right thigh: backward a space he ran
     For his death-speeding bow, which had been left
650  To rearward of the fight.  Idomeneus
     Upheaved a stone, huge as his hands could swing,
     And dashed it on Eurypylus' arm: to earth
     Fell his death-dealing spear.  Backward he stepped
     To grasp another, since from out his hand
     The first was smitten.  So had Atreus' sons
     A moment's breathing-space from stress of war.
     But swiftly drew Eurypylus' henchmen near
     Bearing a stubborn-shafted lance, wherewith
     He brake the strength of many.  In stormy might
660  Then charged he on the foe: whomso he met
     He slew, and spread wide havoc through their ranks.

     Now neither Atreus' sons might steadfast stand,
     Nor any valiant Danaan beside,
     For ruinous panic suddenly gripped the hearts
     Of all; for on them all Eurypylus rushed
     Flashing death in their faces, chased them, slew,
     Cried to the Trojans and to his chariot-lords:
     "Friends, be of good heart!  To these Danaans
     Let us deal slaughter and doom's darkness now!
670  Lo, how like scared sheep back to the ships they flee!
     Forget not your death-dealing battle-lore,
     O ye that from your youth are men of war!"

     Then charged they on the Argives as one man;
     And these in utter panic turned and fled
     The bitter battle, those hard after them
     Followed, as white-fanged hounds hold deer in chase
     Up the long forest-glens.  Full many in dust
     They dashed down, howsoe'er they longed to escape.
     The slaughter grim and great of that wild fray.
680  Eurypylus hath slain Bucolion,
     Nesus, and Chromion and Antiphus;
     Twain in Mycenae dwelt, a goodly land;
     In Lacedaemon twain.  Men of renown
     Albeit they were, he slew them.  Then he smote
     A host unnumbered of the common throng.
     My strength should not suffice to sing their fate,
     How fain soever, though within my breast
     Were iron lungs.  Aeneas slew withal
     Antimachus and Pheres, twain which left
690  Crete with Idomeneus.  Agenor smote
     Molus the princely, -- with king Sthenelus
     He came from Argos, -- hurled from far behind
     A dart new-whetted, as he fled from fight,
     Piercing his right leg, and the eager shaft
     Cut sheer through the broad sinew, shattering
     The bones with anguished pain: and so his doom
     Met him, to die a death of agony.
     Then Paris' arrows laid proud Phorcys low,
     And Mosynus, brethren both, from Salamis
700  Who came in Aias' ships, and nevermore
     Saw the home-land.  Cleolaus smote he next,
     Meges' stout henchman; for the arrow struck
     His left breast: deadly night enwrapped him round,
     And his soul fleeted forth: his fainting heart
     Still in his breast fluttering convulsively
     Made the winged arrow shiver.  Yet again
     Did Paris shoot at bold Eetion.
     Through his jaw leapt the sudden-flashing brass:
     He groaned, and with his blood were mingled tears.
710  So ever man slew man, till all the space
     Was heaped with Argives each on other cast.
     Now had the Trojans burnt with fire the ships,
     Had not night, trailing heavy-folded mist,
     Uprisen.  So Eurypylus drew back,
     And Troy's sons with him, from the ships aloof
     A little space, by Simois' outfall; there
     Camped they exultant.  But amidst the ships
     Flung down upon the sands the Argives wailed
     Heart-anguished for the slain, so many of whom
720  Dark fate had overtaken and laid in dust.

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