Helen of Troy
Book 5. The War
The war round Troy, and how many brave men fell, and chiefly Sarpedon, Patroclus,
Hector, Memnon, and Achilles. The coming of the Amazon, and the wounding of Paris,
and his death, and concerning the good end that OEnone made.
For ten long years the Argive leaguer lay
Round Priam's folk, and wrought them many woes,
While, as a lion crouch'd above his prey,
The Trojans yet made head against their foes;
And as the swift sea-water ebbs and flows
Between the Straits of Helle and the main,
Even so the tide of battle sank and rose,
And fill'd with waifs of war the Ilian plain.
And horse on horse was driven, as wave on wave;
Like rain upon the deep the arrows fell,
And like the wind, the war-cry of the brave
Rang out above the battle's ebb and swell,
And long the tale of slain, and sad to tell;
Yet seem'd the end scarce nearer than of yore
When nine years pass'd and still the citadel
Frown'd on the Argive huts beside the shore.
And still the watchers on the city's crown
Afar from sacred Ilios might spy
The flame from many a fallen subject town
Flare on the starry verges of the sky,
And still from rich Maeonia came the cry
Of cities sack'd where'er Achilles led.
Yet none the more men deem'd the end was nigh
While knightly Hector fought unvanquished.
But ever as each dawn bore grief afar,
And further back, wax'd Paris glad and gay,
And on the fringes of the cloud of war
His arrows, like the lightning, still would play;
Yet fled he Menelaus on a day,
And there had died, but Aphrodite's power