Classical Texts Library >> Quintus Smyrnaeus, The Fall of Troy >> Book 14




Amazon Penthesilea


Ethiopian Memnon


Death of Achilles


Funeral Games of Achilles


Contest for the Arms


Teuthranian Eurypylus




Death of Eurypylus


Final Battles


Death of Paris


Final Battles


The Trojan Horse


The Sack of Troy


The Returns


[1] Then rose from Ocean Dawn the golden-throned up to the heavens; night into Chaos sank. And now the Argives spoiled fair-fenced Troy, and took her boundless treasures for a prey. Like river-torrents seemed they, that sweep down, ny rain, floods swelled, in thunder from the hills, and seaward hurl tall trees and whatsoe'er grows on the mountains, mingled with the wreck of shattered cliff and crag; so the long lines of Danaans who had wasted Troy with fire seemed, streaming with her plunder to the ships. Troy's daughters therewithal in scattered bands they haled down seaward -- virgins yet unwed, and new-made brides, and matrons silver-haired, and mothers from whose bosoms foes had torn babes for the last time closing lips on breasts.

[17] Amidst of these Menelaus led his wife forth of the burning city, having wrought a mighty triumph -- joy and shame were his. Cassandra heavenly-fair was haled the prize of Agamemnon: to Achilles' son Andromache had fallen: Hecuba Odysseus dragged unto his ship. The tears poured from her eyes as water from a spring; trembled her limbs, fear-frenzied was her heart; rent were her hoary tresses and besprent with ashes of the hearth, cast by her hands when she saw Priam slain and Troy aflame. And aye she deeply groaned for thraldom's day that trapped her vainly loth. Each hero led a wailing Trojan woman to his ship. Here, there, uprose from these the wild lament, the woeful-mingling cries of mother and babe. As when with white-tusked swine the herdmen drive their younglings from the hill-pens to the plain as winter closeth in, and evermore each answereth each with mingled plaintive cries; so moaned Troy's daughters by their foes enslaved, handmaid and queen made one in thraldom's lot.

[40] But Helen raised no lamentation: shame sat on her dark-blue eyes, and cast its flush over her lovely cheeks. Her heart beat hard with sore misgiving, lest, as to the ships she passed, the Achaeans might mishandle her. Therefore with fluttering soul she trembled sore; and, her head darkly mantled in her veil, close-following trod she in her husband's steps, with cheek shame-crimsoned, like the Queen of Love, what time the Heaven-abiders saw her clasped in Ares' arms, shaming in sight of all the marriage-bed, trapped in the myriad-meshed toils of Hephaestus: tangled there she lay in agony of shame, while thronged around the Blessed, and there stood Hephaestus' self: for fearful it is for wives to be beheld by husbands' eyes doing the deed of shame. Lovely as she in form and roseate blush passed Helen mid the Trojan captives on to the Argive ships. But the folk all around marvelled to see the glory of loveliness of that all-flawless woman. No man dared or secretly or openly to cast reproach on her. As on a Goddess all gazed on her with adoring wistful eyes. As when to wanderers on a stormy sea, after long time and passion of prayer, the sight of fatherland is given; from deadly deeps escaped, they stretch hands to her joyful-souled; so joyed the Danaans all, no man of them remembered any more war's travail and pain. Such thoughts Cytherea stirred in them, for grace to Helen starry-eyed, and Zeus her sire.

[73] Then, when he saw that burg beloved destroyed, Xanthus, scarce drawing breath from bloody war, mourned with his Nymphs for ruin fallen on Troy, mourned for the city of Priam blotted out. As when hail lashes a field of ripened wheat, and beats it small, and smites off all the ears with merciless scourge, and levelled with the ground are stalks, and on the earth is all the grain woefully wasted, and the harvest's lord is stricken with deadly grief; so Xanthus' soul was utterly whelmed in grief for Ilium made a desolation; grief undying was his, immortal though he was. Mourned Simois and long-ridged Ida: all who on Ida dwelt wailed from afar the ruin of Priam's town.

[88] But with loud laughter of glee the Argives sought their galleys, chanting the triumphant might of victory, chanting now the Blessed Gods, now their own valour, and Epeius' work ever renowned. Their song soared up to heaven, like multitudinous cries of daws, when breaks a day of sunny calm and windless air after a ruining storm: from their glad hearts so rose the joyful clamour, till the Gods heard and rejoiced in heaven, all who had helped with willing hands the war-fain Argive men. But chafed those others which had aided Troy, beholding Priam's city wrapped in flame, yet powerless for her help to override fate; for not Cronos' Son can stay the hand of Destiny, whose might transcendeth all the Immortals, and Zeus sanctioneth all her deeds.

[105] The Argives on the flaming altar-wood laid many thighs of oxen, and made haste to spill sweet wine on their burnt offerings, thanking the Gods for that great work achieved. And loudly at the feast they sang the praise of all the mailed men whom the Horse of Tree had ambushed. Far-famed Sinon they extolled for that dire torment he endured of foes; yea, song and honour-guerdons without end all rendered him: and that resolved soul glad-hearted joyed for the Argives victory, and for his own misfeaturing sorrowed not. for to the wise and prudent man renown is better far than gold, than goodlihead, than all good things men have or hope to win.

[120] So, feasting by the ships all void of fear, cried one to another ever and anon: "We have touched the goal of this long war, have won glory, have smitten our foes and their great town! Now grant, O Zeus, to our prayers safe home-return!" But not to all the Sire vouchsafed return.

[126] Then rose a cunning harper in their midst. And sang the song of triumph and of peace re-won, and with glad hearts untouched by care they heard; for no more fear of war had they, but of sweet toil of law-abiding days and blissful, fleeting hours henceforth they dreamed. All the War's Story in their eager ears he sang -- how leagued peoples gathering met at hallowed Aulis -- how the invincible strength of Peleus' son smote fenced cities twelve in sea-raids, how he marched o'er leagues on leagues of land, and spoiled eleven -- all he wrought in fight with Telephus and Eetion -- how he slew giant Cycnus -- all the toil of war that through Achilles' wrath befell the Achaeans -- how he dragged dead Hector round his own Troy's wall, and how he slew in fight Penthesileia and Tithonus' son: -- how Aias laid low Glaucus, lord of spears, then sang he how the child of Aeacus' son struck down Eurypylus, and how the shafts of Philoctetes dealt to Paris death. Then the song named all heroes who passed in to ambush in the Horse of Guile, and hymned the fall of god-descended Priam's burg; the feast he sang last, and peace after war; then many another, as they listed, sang.

[153] But when above those feasters midnight's stars hung, ceased the Danaans from the feast and wine, and turned to sleep's forgetfulness of care, for that with yesterday's war-travail all were wearied; wherefore they, who fain all night had revelled, needs must cease: how loth soe'er, sleep drew them thence; here, there, soft slumbered they.

[160] But in his tent Menelaus lovingly with bright-haired Helen spake; for on their eyes sleep had not fallen yet. The Cyprian Queen brooded above their souls, that olden love might be renewed, and heart-ache chased away.

[165] Helen first brake the silence, and she said: "O Menelaus, be not wroth with me! Not of my will I left thy roof, thy bed, nut Alexander and the sons of Troy came upon me, and snatched away, when thou wast far thence. Oftentimes did I essay by the death-noose to perish wretchedly, or by the bitter sword; but still they stayed mine hand, and still spake comfortable words to salve my grief for thee and my sweet child. For her sake, for the sake of olden love, and for thine own sake, I beseech thee now, forget thy stern displeasure against thy wife."

[178] Answered her Menelaus wise of wit: "No more remember past griefs: seal them up hid in thine heart. Let all be locked within the dim dark mansion of forgetfulness. What profits it to call ill deeds to mind?"

[183] Glad was she then: fear flitted from her heart, and came sweet hope that her lord's wrath was dead. She cast her arms around him, and their eyes with tears were brimming as they made sweet moan; and side by side they laid them, and their hearts thrilled with remembrance of old spousal joy. And as a vine and ivy entwine their stems each around other, that no might of wind avails to sever them, so clung these twain twined in the passionate embrace of love.

[193] When came on these too sorrow-drowning sleep, even then above his son's head rose and stood godlike Achilles' mighty shade, in form as when he lived, the Trojans' bane, the joy of Greeks, and kissed his neck and flashing eyes lovingly, and spake comfortable words: "All hail, my son! Vex not thine heart with grief for thy dead sire; for with the Blessed Gods now at the feast I sit. Refrain thy soul from sorrow, and plant my strength within thy mind. Be foremost of the Argives ever; yield to none in valour, but in council bow before thine elders: so shall all acclaim thy courtesy. Honour princely men and wise; for the true man is still the true man's friend, even as the vile man cleaveth to the knave. If good thy thought be, good shall be thy deeds: but no man shall attain to Honour's height, except his heart be right within: her stem is hard to climb, and high in heaven spread her branches: only they whom strength and toil attend, strain up to pluck her blissful fruit, climbing the Tree of Honour glow-crowned. Thou therefore follow fame, and let thy soul be not in sorrow afflicted overmuch, nor in prosperity over-glad. To friends, to comrades, child and wife, be kindly of heart, remembering still that near to all men stand the gates of doom, the mansions of the dead: for humankind are like the flower of grass, the blossom of spring; these fade the while those bloom: therefore be ever kindly with thy kind. Now to the Argives say -- to Atreus' son Agamemnon chiefly -- if my battle-toil round Priam's walls, and those sea-raids I led or ever I set foot on Trojan land, be in their hearts remembered, to my tomb be Priam's daughter Polyxeina led -- whom as my portion of the spoil I claim -- and sacrificed thereon: else shall my wrath against them more than for Briseis burn. The waves of the great deep will I turmoil to bar their way, upstirring storm on storm, that through their own mad folly pining away here they may linger long, until to me they pour drink-offerings, yearning sore for home. But, when they have slain the maiden, I grudge not that whoso will may bury her far from me."

[241] Then as a wind-breath swift he fleeted thence, and came to the Elysian Plain, whereto a path to heaven reacheth, for the feet ascending and descending of the Blest. Then the son started up from sleep, and called his sire to mind, and glowed the heart in him.

[247] When to wide heaven the Child of Mist uprose, scattering night, unveiling earth and air, then from their rest upsprang Achaea's sons yearning for home. With laughter 'gan they hale down to the sea the keels: but lo, their haste was reined in by Achilles' mighty son.

[253] He assembled them, and told his sire's behest: "Hearken, dear sons of Argives battle-staunch, to this my glorious father's hest, to me spoken in darkness slumbering on my bed: he saith, he dwells with the Immortal Gods: he biddeth you and Atreus' son the king to bring, as his war-guerdon passing-fair, to his dim dark tomb Polyxeina queenly-robed, to slay her there, but far thence bury her. But if ye slight him, and essay to sail the sea, he threateneth to stir up the waves to bar your path upon the deep, and here storm-bound long time to hold you, ships and men."

[266] Then hearkened they, and as to a God they prayed; for even now a storm-blast on the sea upheaved the waves, broad-backed and thronging fast more than before beneath the madding wind. Tossed the great deep, smit by Poseidon's hands for a grace to strong Achilles. All the winds swooped on the waters. Prayed the Dardans all to Achilles, and a man to his fellow cried: "Great Zeus's seed Achilles verily was; therefore is he a God, who in days past dwelt among us; for lapse of dateless time makes not the sons of Heaven to fade away."

[278] Then to Achilles' tomb the host returned, and led the maid, as calf by herdmen dragged for sacrifice, from woodland pastures torn from its mother's side, and lowing long and loud it moans with anguished heart; so Priam's child wailed in the hands of foes. Down streamed her tears as when beneath the heavy sacks of sand olives clear-skinned, ne'er blotched by drops of storm, pour out their oil, when the long levers creak as strong men strain the cords; so poured the tears of travail-burdened Priam's daughter, haled to stern Achilles' tomb, tears blent with moans. Drenched were her bosom-folds, glistened the drops on flesh clear-white as costly ivory.

[292] Then, to crown all her griefs, yet sharper pain fell on the heart of hapless Hecuba. Then did her soul recall that awful dream, the vision of sleep of that night overpast: her seemed that on Achilles' tomb she stood moaning, her hair down-streaming to the ground, and from her breasts blood dripped to earth the while, and drenched the tomb. Fear-haunted touching this, foreboding all calamity, she wailed piteously; far rang her wild lament. As a dog moaning at her master's door, utters long howls, her teats with milk distent, whose whelps, ere their eyes opened to the light, her lords afar have flung, a prey to kites; and now with short sharp cries she plains, and now long howling: the weird outcry thrills the air; so wailed and shrieked for her child Hecuba: "Ah me! what sorrows first or last shall I lament heart-anguished, who am full of woes? Those unimagined ills my sons, my king have suffered? or my city, or daughters shamed? Or my despair, my day of slavery? Oh, the grim fates have caught me in a net of manifold ills! O child, they have spun for thee dread weird of unimagined misery! They have thrust thee away, when near was Hymen’s hymn, from thine espousals, marked thee for destruction dark, unendurable, unspeakable! For lo, a dead man's heart, Achilles' heart, is by our blood made warm with life to-day! O child, dear child, that I might die with thee, that earth might swallow me, ere I see thy doom!"

[323] So cried she, weeping never-ceasing tears, for grief on bitter grief encompassed her. But when these reached divine Achilles' tomb, then did his son unsheathe the whetted sword, his left hand grasped the maid, and his right hand was laid upon the tomb, and thus he cried: "Hear, father, thy son's prayer, hear all the prayers of Argives, and be no more wroth with us! Lo, unto thee now all thine heart's desire will we fulfil. Be gracious to us thou, and to our praying grant sweet home-return."

[335] Into the maid's throat then he plunged the blade of death: the dear life straightway sobbed she forth, with the last piteous moan of parting breath. Face-downward to the earth she fell: all round her flesh was crimsoned from her neck, as snow stained on a mountain-side with scarlet blood rushing, from javelin-smitten boar or bear. The maiden's corpse then gave they, to be borne unto the city, to Antenor's home, for that, when Troy yet stood, he nurtured her in his fair halls, a bride for his own son Eurymachus. The old man buried her, King Priam's princess-child, nigh his own house, by Ganymedes' shrine, and overagainst the temple of Pallas the Unwearied One. Then were the waves stilled, and the blast was hushed to sleep, and all the sea-flood lulled to calm.

[352] Swift with glad laughter hied they to the ships, hymning Achilles and the Blessed Ones. A feast they made, first severing thighs of kine for the Immortals. Gladsome sacrifice steamed on all sides: in cups of silver and gold they drank sweet wine: their hearts leaped up with hope of winning to their fatherland again. But when with meats and wine all these were filled, then in their eager ears spake Neleus' son: "Hear, friends, who have 'scaped the long turmoil of war, that I may say to you one welcome word: now is the hour of heart's delight, the hour of home-return. Away! Achilles soul hath ceased from ruinous wrath; Earth-shaker stills the stormy wave, and gentle breezes blow; no more the waves toss high. Haste, hale the ships down to the sea. Now, ho for home-return!"

[369] Eager they heard, and ready made the ships. Then was a marvellous portent seen of men; for all-unhappy Priam's queen was changed from woman's form into a pitiful hound; and all men gathered round in wondering awe. Then all her body a God transformed to stone -- a mighty marvel for men yet unborn! At Calchas' bidding this the Achaeans bore in a swift ship to Hellespont's far side. Then down to the sea in haste they ran the keels: their wealth they laid aboard, even all the spoil taken, or ever unto Troy they came, from conquered neighbour peoples; therewithal whatso they took from Ilium, wherein most they joyed, for untold was the sum thereof. And followed with them many a captive maid with anguished heart: so went they aboard the ships. But Calchas would not with that eager host launch forth; yea, he had fain withheld therefrom all the Achaeans, for his prophet-soul foreboded dread destruction looming o'er the Argives by the Rocks Capherean. But naught they heeded him; malignant Fate Deluded men's souls: only Amphilochus the wise in prophet-lore, the gallant son of princely Amphiaraus, stayed with him. Fated were these twain, far from their own land, to reach Pamphylian and Cilician burgs; and this the Gods thereafter brought to pass.

[398] But now the Achaeans cast the hawsers loose from shore: in haste they heaved the anchor-stones. Roared Hellespont beneath swift-flashing oars; crashed the prows through the sea. About the bows much armour of slain foes was lying heaped: along the bulwarks victory-trophies hung countless. With garlands wreathed they all the ships, their heads, the spears, the shields wherewith they had fought against their foes. The chiefs stood on the prows, and poured into the dark sea once and again wine to the Gods, to grant them safe return. But with the winds their prayers mixed; far away vainly they floated blent with cloud and air.

[411] With anguished hearts the captive maids looked back on Ilium, and with sobs and moans they wailed, striving to hide their grief from Argive eyes. Clasping their knees some sat; in misery some veiled with their hands their faces; others nursed young children in their arms: those innocents not yet bewailed their day of bondage, nor their country's ruin; all their thoughts were set on comfort of the breast, for the babe's heart hath none affinity with sorrow. All sat with unbraided hair and pitiful breasts scored with their fingers. On their cheeks there lay stains of dried tears, and streamed thereover now fresh tears full fast, as still they gazed aback on the lost hapless home, wherefrom yet rose the flames, and o'er it writhed the rolling smoke. Now on Cassandra marvelling they gazed, calling to mind her prophecy of doom; but at their tears she laughed in bitter scorn, in anguish for the ruin of her land.

[431] Such Trojans as had scaped from pitiless war gathered to render now the burial-dues unto their city's slain. Antenor led to that sad work: one pyre for all they raised.

[435] But laughed with triumphing hearts the Argive men, as now with oars they swept o'er dark sea-ways, now hastily hoised the sails high o'er the ships, and fleeted fast astern Dardania-land, and Hero Achilles' tomb. But now their hearts, how blithe soe'er, remembered comrades slain, and sorely grieved, and wistfully they looked back to the alien's land; it seemed to them aye sliding farther from their ships. Full soon by Tenedos' beaches slipt they: now they ran by Chrysa, Sminthian Phoebus' holy place, and hallowed Cilla. Far away were glimpsed the windy heights of Lesbos. Rounded now was Lecton's foreland, where is the last peak of Ida. In the sails loud hummed the wind, crashed round the prows the dark surge: the long waves showed shadowy hollows, far the white wake gleamed.

[452] Now had the Argives all to the hallowed soil of Hellas won, by perils of the deep unscathed, but for Athena Daughter of Zeus the Thunderer, and her indignation's wrath. When nigh Euboea's windy heights they drew, she rose, in anger unappeasable against the Locrian king, devising doom crushing and pitiless, and drew nigh to Zeus Lord of the Gods, and spake to him apart in wrath that in her breast would not be pent: "Zeus, Father, unendurable of Gods is men's presumption! They reck not of thee, of none of the Blessed reck they, forasmuch as vengeance followeth after sin no more; and ofttimes more afflicted are good men than evil, and their misery hath no end. Therefore no man regardeth justice: shame lives not with men! And I, I will not dwell hereafter in Olympus, not be named thy daughter, if I may not be avenged on the Achaeans' reckless sin! Behold, within my very temple Oileus' son hath wrought iniquity, hath pitied not Cassandra stretching unregarded hands once and again to me; nor did he dread my might, nor reverenced in his wicked heart the Immortal, but a deed intolerable he did. Therefore let not thy spirit divine begrudge mine heart's desire, that so all men may quake before the manifest wrath of Gods."

[482] Answered the Sire with heart-assuaging words: "Child, not for the Argives' sake withstand I thee; but all mine armoury which the Cyclops' might to win my favour wrought with tireless hands, to thy desire I give. O strong heart, hurl a ruining storm thyself on the Argive fleet."

[488] Then down before the aweless Maid he cast swift lightning, thunder, and deadly thunderbolt; and her heart leapt, and gladdened was her soul. She donned the stormy Aegis flashing far, adamantine, massy, a marvel to the Gods, whereon was wrought Medusa's ghastly head, fearful: strong serpents breathing forth the blast of ravening fire were on the face thereof. Crashed on the Queen's breast all the Aegis-links, as after lightning crashes the firmament. Then grasped she her father's weapons, which no God save Zeus can lift, and wide Olympus shook. Then swept she clouds and mist together on high; night over earth was poured, haze o'er the sea. Zeus watched, and was right glad as broad heaven's floor rocked 'neath the Goddess's feet, and crashed the sky, as though invincible Zeus rushed forth to war.
Then sped she Iris unto Acolus, from heaven far-flying over misty seas, to bid him send forth all his buffering winds o'er iron-bound Caphereus' cliffs to sweep ceaselessly, and with ruin of madding blasts to upheave the sea. And Iris heard, and swift she darted, through cloud-billows plunging down -- thou hadst said: "Lo, in the sky dark water and fire!" And to Aeolia came she, isle of caves, of echoing dungeons of mad-raging winds with rugged ribs of mountain overarched, whereby the mansion stands of Aeolus Hippotas' son. Him found she therewithin with wife and twelve sons; and she told to him Athena's purpose toward the homeward-bound Achaeans. He denied her not, but passed forth of his halls, and in resistless hands upswung his trident, smiting the mountain-side within whose chasm-cell the wild winds dwelt tempestuously shrieking. Ever pealed weird roarings of their voices round its vaults. Cleft by his might was the hill-side; forth they poured. He bade them on their wings bear blackest storm to upheave the sea, and shroud Caphereus' heights.

[529] Swiftly upsprang they, ere their king's command was fully spoken. Mightily moaned the sea as they rushed o'er it; waves like mountain-cliffs from all sides were uprolled. The Achaeans' hearts were terror-palsied, as the uptowering surge now swung the ships up high through palling mist, now hurled them rolled as down a precipice to dark abysses. Up through yawning deeps some power resistless belched the boiling sand from the sea's floor. Tossed in despair, fear-dazed, men could not grasp the oar, nor reef the sail about the yard-arm, howsoever fain, ere the winds rent it, could not with the sheets trim the torn canvas, buffeted so were they by ruining blasts. The helmsman had no power to guide the rudder with his practised hands, for those ill winds hurled all confusedly. No hope of life was left them: blackest night, fury of tempest, wrath of deathless Gods, raged round them. Still Poseidon heaved and swung the merciless sea, to work the heart's desire of his brother's glorious child; and she on high stormed with her lightnings, ruthless in her rage. Thundered from heaven Zeus, in purpose fixed to glorify his daughter. All the isles and mainlands round were lashed by leaping seas nigh to Euboea, where the Power divine scourged most with unrelenting stroke on stroke the Argives. Groan and shriek of perishing men rang through the ships; started great beams and snapped with ominous sound, for ever ship on ship with shivering timbers crashed. With hopeless toil men strained with oars to thrust back hulls that reeled down on their own, but with the shattered planks were hurled into the abyss, to perish there by pitiless doom; for beams of foundering ships from this, from that side battered out their lives, and crushed were all their bodies wretchedly. Some in the ships fell down, and like dead men lay there; some, in the grip of destiny, clinging to oars smooth-shaven, tried to swim; some upon planks were tossing. Roared the surge from fathomless depths: it seemed as though sea, sky, and land were blended all confusedly.

[573] Still from Olympus thundering Atrytone wielded her Father's power unshamed, and still the welkin shrieked around. Her ruin of wrath now upon Aias hurled she: on his ship dashed she a thunderbolt, and shivered it wide in a moment into fragments small, while earth and air yelled o'er the wreck, and whirled and plunged and fell the whole sea down thereon. They in the ship were all together flung forth: all about them swept the giant waves, round them leapt lightnings flaming through the dark. Choked with the strangling surf of hissing brine, gasping out life, they drifted o'er the sea.

[586] But even in death those captive maids rejoiced, as some ill-starred ones, clasping to their breasts their babes, sank in the sea; some flung their arms round Danaans' horror-stricken heads, and dragged these down with them, so rendering to their foes requital for foul outrage down to them. And from on high the haughty Trito-born looked down on all this, and her heart was glad.

[594] But Aias floated now on a galley's plank, now through the brine with strong hands oared his path, like some old Titan in his tireless might. Cleft was the salt sea-surge by the sinewy hands of that undaunted man: the Gods beheld and marvelled at his courage and his strength. But now the billows swung him up on high through misty air, as though to a mountain's peak, now whelmed him down, as they would bury him in ravening whirlpits: yet his stubborn hands toiled on unwearied. Aye to right and left flashed lightnings down, and quenched them in the sea; for not yet was the Child of Thunderer Zeus purposed to smite him dead, despite her wrath, ere he had drained the cup of travail and pain down to the dregs; so in the deep long time affliction wore him down, tormented sore on every side. Grim Fates stood round the man unnumbered; yet despair still kindled strength. he cried: "Though all the Olympians banded come in wrath, and rouse against me all the sea, I will escape them!" But no whit did he elude the Gods' wrath; for the Shaker of Earth in fierceness of his indignation marked where his hands clung to the Gyraean Rock, and in stern anger with an earthquake shook both sea and land. Around on all sides crashed Caphereus' cliffs: beneath the Sea-king's wrath the surf-tormented beaches shrieked and roared. The broad crag rifted reeled into the sea, the rock whereto his desperate hands had clung; yet did he writhe up round its jutting spurs, while flayed his hands were, and from 'neath his nails the blood ran. Wrestling with him roared the waves, and the foam whitened all his hair and beard.

[629] Yet had he 'scaped perchance his evil doom, had not Poseidon, wroth with his hardihood, cleaving the earth, hurled down the chasm the rock, as in the old time Pallas heaved on high Sicily, and on huge Enceladus dashed down the isle, which burns with the burning yet of that immortal giant, as he breathes fire underground; so did the mountain-crag, hurled from on high, bury the Locrian king, pinning the strong man down, a wretch crushed flat. And so on him death's black destruction came whom land and sea alike were leagued to slay.

[641] Still over the great deep were swept the rest of those Achaeans, crouching terror-dazed down in the ships, save those that mid the waves had fallen. Misery encompassed all; for some with heavily-plunging prows drave on, with keels upturned some drifted. Here were masts snapped from the hull by rushing gusts, and there were tempest-rifted wrecks of scattered beams; and some had sunk, whelmed in the mighty deep, swamped by the torrent downpour from the clouds: for these endured not madness of wind-tossed sea leagued with heaven's waterspout; for streamed the sky ceaselessly like a river, while the deep raved round them. And one cried: "Such floods on men fell only when Deucalion's deluge came, when earth was drowned, and all was fathomless sea!"

[657] So cried a Danaan, seeing soul-appalled that wild storm. Thousands perished; corpses thronged the great sea-highways: all the beaches were too strait for them: the surf belched multitudes forth on the land. The heavy-booming sea with weltering beams of ships was wholly paved, and here and there the grey waves gleamed between.

[664] So found they each his several evil fate, some whelmed beneath broad-rushing billows, some wretchedly perishing with their shattered ships by Nauplius' devising on the rocks. Wroth for that son whom they had done to death, he; when the storm rose and the Argives died, rejoiced amid his sorrow, seeing a God gave to his hands revenge, which now he wreaked upon the host he hated, as o'er the deep they tossed sore-harassed. To his sea-god sire he prayed that all might perish, ships and men whelmed in the deep. Poseidon heard his prayer, and on the dark surge swept them nigh his land. He, like a harbour-warder, lifted high a blazing torch, and so by guile he trapped the Achaean men, who deemed that they had won a sheltering haven: but sharp reefs and crags gave awful welcome unto ships and men, who, dashed to pieces on the cruel rocks in the black night, crowned ills with direr ills. Some few escaped, by a God or Power unseen plucked from death's hand. Athena now rejoiced her heart within, and now was racked with fears for prudent-souled Odysseus; for his weird was through Poseidon's wrath to suffer woes full many.

[659] But Earth-shaker's jealousy now burned against those long walls and towers uppiled by the strong Argives for a fence against the Trojans' battle-onset. Swiftly then he swelled to overbrimming all the sea that rolls from Euxine down to Hellespont, and hurled it on the shore of Troy: and Zeus, for a grace unto the glorious Shaker of Earth, poured rain from heaven: withal Far-darter bare in that great work his part; from Ida's heights into one channel led he all her streams, and flooded the Achaeans' work. The sea dashed o'er it, and the roaring torrents still rushed on it, swollen by the rains of Zeus; and the dark surge of the wide-moaning sea still hurled them back from mingling with the deep, till all the Danaan walls were blotted out beneath their desolating flood. Then earth was by Poseidon chasm-cleft: up rushed deluge of water, slime and sand, while quaked Sigeum with the mighty shock, and roared the beach and the foundations of the land Dardanian. So vanished, whelmed from sight, that mighty rampart. Earth asunder yawned, and all sank down, and only sand was seen, when back the sea rolled, o'er the beach outspread far down the heavy-booming shore. All this the Immortals' anger wrought. But in their ships the Argives storm-dispersed went sailing on. So came they home, as heaven guided each, even all that 'scaped the fell sea-tempest blasts.