The Death of Hector

Refusal of Hector to enter the city, though entreated by Priam and Hecuba⁠—His resolve to meet Achilles, and his flight when Achilles approaches⁠—Descent of Minerva to aid Achilles⁠—Deceit practised by her on Hector, when, assuming the form of his brother Deïphobus, she induces him to encounter Achilles⁠—His death⁠—His body dragged at the chariot-wheels of the victor⁠—Lament of Priam and Hecuba⁠—The news brought to Andromache while engaged at the loom⁠—Her sorrow and lamentation.

Thus were they driven within the city walls
Like frighted fawns, and there dispersing cooled
Their sweaty limbs, and quenched their eager thirst,
And rested on the battlements. The Greeks,
Bearing their shields upon their shoulders, came
Close to the ramparts. Hector’s adverse fate
Detained him still without the walls of Troy,
And near the Scaean gates. Meantime the god
Apollo to the son of Peleus said:⁠—

“O son of Peleus! Why pursue me thus
With thy swift feet⁠—a mortal man in chase
Of an immortal? That I am a god
Thou seest not yet, but turnest all thy rage
On me, and, having put the host of Troy
To rout, dost think of them no more. They find
A refuge in their town, while far astray
Thou wanderest hither. Thou hast not the power
To slay me; I am not of mortal birth.”

The swift Achilles angrily replied:
“O archer-god, thou most unjust of all
The immortals! Thou hast wronged me, luring me
Aside; since many a warrior I had forced
To bite the dust before they reached the gates
Of Ilium but for thee, who from my grasp
Hast snatched the glory and hast rescued them.
Thou didst not fear my vengeance; yet if power
Were given me, I would punish thee for this.”

He spake, and with heroic purpose turned
Toward Ilium. As a steed that wins the race
Flies at his utmost speed across the plain,
And whirls along the chariot, with such speed
The son of Peleus moved his rapid feet.

The aged monarch Priam was the first
To see him as he scoured the plain, and shone
Like to the star which in the autumn time
Rises and glows among the lights of heaven
With eminent lustre at the dead of night⁠—
Orion’s Hound they call it⁠—bright indeed,
And yet of baleful omen, for it brings
Distressing heat to miserable men.
So shone the brass upon the warrior’s breast
As on he flew. The aged Priam groaned,
And smote his head with lifted hands, and called
Aloud, imploring his beloved son,
Who eagerly before the city gate
Waited his foe Achilles. Priam thus,
With outstretched hands, besought him piteously:⁠—

“O wait not, Hector, my beloved son,
To combat with Pelides, thus alone
And far from succor, lest thou meet thy death,
Slain by his hand, for he is mightier far
Than thou art. Would that he, the cruel one,
Were but as much the favorite of the gods
As he is mine! Then should the birds of prey
And dogs devour his carcass, and the grief
That weighs upon my spirit would depart.
I have been robbed by him of many sons⁠—
Brave youths, whom he has slain or sold as slaves
In distant isles; and now I see no more
Among our host on whom the gates are closed
My Polydorus and Lycaon, whom
The peerless dame Laothoe bore to me.
If yet they are within the Grecian camp,
I will redeem their lives with brass and gold;
For I have store, which Altes, the renowned
And aged, gave his daughter. If they live
No longer, but have passed to the abode
Of Hades, bitter will our sorrow be⁠—
Mine and their mother’s⁠—but the popular grief
Will sooner be consoled if thou fall not,
Slain by Achilles. Come within the walls,
My son, that thou mayst still be the defence
Of Ilium’s sons and daughters, nor increase
The glory of Pelides with the loss
Of thine own life. Have pity upon me,
Who only live to suffer⁠—whom the son
Of Saturn, on the threshold of my age,
Hath destined to endure a thousand griefs,
And then to be destroyed⁠—to see my sons
Slain by the sword, my daughters dragged away
Into captivity, their chambers made
A spoil, our infants dashed against the ground
By cruel hands, the consorts of my sons
Borne off by the ferocious Greeks; and last,
Perchance the very dogs which I have fed
Here in my palaces and at my board,
The guardians of my doors, when, by the spear
Or sword, some enemy shall take my life,
And at my threshold leave me stretched a corpse,
Will rend me, and, with savage greediness,
Will lap my blood, and in the porch lie down.
When one in prime of youth lies slain in war,
Gashed with the spear, his wounds become him well,
And honor him in all men’s eyes; but when
An aged man is slain, and his white head
And his white beard and limbs are foully torn
By ravening dogs, there is no sadder sight.”

So the old monarch spake, and with his hands
Tore his gray hair, but moved not Hector thus.
Then came, with lamentations and in tears,
The warrior’s mother forward. One hand laid
Her bosom bare; she pressed the other hand
Beneath it, sobbed, and spake these wingèd words:⁠—

“Revere this bosom, Hector, and on me
Have pity. If when thou wert but a babe
I ever on this bosom stilled thy cries,
Think of it now, beloved child; avoid
That dreadful chief; withdraw within the walls,
Nor madly think to encounter him alone,
Son of my love and of my womb! If he
Should slay thee, I shall not lament thy death
Above thy bier⁠—I, nor thy noble wife⁠—
But far from us the greedy dogs will throng
To mangle thee beside the Grecian fleet.”

Thus, weeping bitterly, the aged pair
Entreated their dear son, yet moved him not.
He stood and waited for his mighty foe
Achilles, as a serpent at his den,
Fed on the poisons of the wild, awaits
The traveller, and, fierce with hate of man,
And glaring fearfully, lies coiled within.
So waited Hector with a resolute heart,
And kept his ground, and, leaning his bright shield
Against a tower that jutted from the walls,
Conferred with his great soul impatiently:⁠—

“Ah me! If I should pass within the walls,
Then will Polydamas be first to cast
Reproach upon me; for he counselled me
To lead the Trojans back into the town
That fatal night which saw Achilles rise
To join the war again. I yielded not
To his advice; far better if I had.
Now, since my fatal stubbornness has brought
This ruin on my people, I most dread
The censure of the men and long-robed dames
Of Ilium. Men less brave than I will say,
‘Foolhardy Hector in his pride has thrown
His people’s lives away.’ So will they speak,
And better were it for me to return,
Achilles slain, or, slain myself by him,
To perish for my country gloriously.
But should I lay aside this bossy shield
And this stout helm, and lean against the wall
This spear, and go to meet the gallant son
Of Peleus, with a promise to restore
Helen and all the treasure brought with her
To Troy by Paris, in his roomy ships⁠—
All that the war was waged for⁠—that the sons
Of Atreus may convey it hence, besides
Wealth drawn from all the hoards within the town,
And to be shared among the Greeks; for I
Would bind the Trojans by a solemn oath
To keep back nothing, but divide the whole⁠—
Whate’er of riches this fair town contains⁠—
Into two parts⁠—But why should I waste thought
On plans like these? I must not act the part
Of suppliant to a man who may not show
Regard or mercy, but may hew me down
Defenceless, with my armor laid aside
As if I were a woman. Not with him
May I hold parley from a tree or rock,
As youths and maidens with each other hold
Light converse. Better ’twere to rush at once
To combat, and the sooner learn to whom
Olympian Jove decrees the victory.”

Such were his thoughts. Achilles now drew near.
Like crested Mars, the warrior-god, he came.
On his right shoulder quivered fearfully
The Pelian ash, and from his burnished mail
There streamed a light as of a blazing fire,
Or of the rising sun. When Hector saw,
He trembled, nor could venture to remain,
But left the gates and fled away in fear.
Pelides, trusting to his rapid feet,
Pursued him. As, among the mountain wilds,
A falcon, fleetest of the birds of air,
Darts toward a timid dove that wheels away
To shun him by a sidelong flight, while he
Springs after her again and yet again,
And screaming follows, certain of his prey⁠—
Thus onward flew Achilles, while as fast
Fled Hector in dismay, with hurrying feet,
Beside the wall. They passed the Mount of View,
And the wind-beaten fig-tree, and they ran
Along the public way by which the wall
Was skirted, till they came where from the ground
The two fair springs of eddying Xanthus rise⁠—
One pouring a warm stream from which ascends
And spreads a vapor like a smoke from fire;
The other, even in summer, sending forth
A current cold as hail, or snow, or ice.
And there were broad stone basins, fairly wrought,
At which, in time of peace, before the Greeks
Had landed on the plain, the Trojan dames
And their fair daughters washed their sumptuous robes.
Past these they swept; one fled, and one pursued⁠—
A brave man fled, a braver followed close,
And swiftly both. Not for a common prize,
A victim from the herd, a bullock’s hide,
Such as reward the fleet of foot, they ran⁠—
The race was for the knightly Hector’s life.
As firm-paced coursers, that are wont to win,
Fly toward the goal, when some magnificent prize,
A tripod or a damsel, is proposed
In honor of some hero’s obsequies,
So these flew thrice on rapid feet around
The city of Priam. All the gods of heaven
Looked on, and thus the Almighty Father spake:⁠—

“Alas! I see a hero dear to me
Pursued around the wall. My heart is grieved
For Hector, who has brought so many thighs
Of bullocks to my altar on the side
Of Ida ploughed with glens, or on the heights
Of Ilium. The renowned Achilles now
Is chasing him with rapid feet around
The city of Priam. Now bethink yourselves,
And answer. Shall we rescue him from death?
Or shall we doom him, valiant as he is,
To perish by the hand of Peleus’ son?”

Minerva, blue-eyed goddess, answered thus:
“O Father, who dost hurl the thunderbolt,
And hide the sky in clouds, what hast thou said?
Wouldst thou reprieve from death a mortal man,
Whose doom is fixed? Then do it; but know this,
That all the other gods will not approve.”

Then spake again the Cloud-compeller Jove:
“Tritonia, my dear child, be calm. I spake
Of no design. I would be kind to thee.
Do as thou wilt, and be there no delay.”

He spake; and Pallas from the Olympian peaks,
Encouraged by his words in what her thought
Had planned already, downward shot to earth.
Still, with quick steps, the fleet Achilles pressed
On Hector’s flight. As when a hound has roused
A fawn from its retreat among the hills,
And chases it through glen and forest ground.
And to close thickets, where it skulks in fear
Until he overtake it, Hector thus
Sought vainly to elude the fleet pursuit
Of Peleus’ son. As often as he thought,
By springing toward the gates of Troy, to gain
Aid from the weapons of his friends who stood
On the tall towers, so often was the Greek
Before him, forcing him to turn away
From Ilium toward the plain. Achilles thus
Kept nearest to the city. As in dreams
The fleet pursuer cannot overtake,
Nor the pursued escape, so was it now;
One followed but in vain, the other fled
As fruitlessly. But how could Hector thus
Have put aside the imminent doom of death,
Had not Apollo met him once again,
For the last time, and given him strength and speed?

The great Achilles nodded to his host
A sign that no man should presume to strike
At Hector with his weapon, lest perchance
Another, wounding him, should bear away
The glory, and Pelides only wear
The second honors. When the twain had come
For the fourth time beside Scamander’s springs,
The All-Father raised the golden balance high,
And, placing in the scales two lots which bring
Death’s long dark sleep⁠—one lot for Peleus’ son,
And one for knightly Hector⁠—by the midst
He poised the balance. Hector’s fate sank down
To Hades, and Apollo left the field.

The blue-eyed goddess Pallas then approached
The son of Peleus with these wingèd words:⁠—

“Renowned Achilles, dear to Jupiter!
Now may we, as I hope, at last return
To the Achaian army and the fleet
With glory, Hector slain, the terrible
In war. Escape he cannot, even though
The archer-god Apollo fling himself
With passionate entreaty at the feet
Of Jove the Aegis-bearer. Stay thou here
And breathe a moment, while I go to him
And lure him hither to encounter thee.”

She spake, and he obeyed, and gladly stood
Propped on the ashen stem of his keen spear;
While, passing on, Minerva overtook
The noble Hector. In the outward form,
And with the strong voice of Deïphobus,
She stood by him and spake these wingèd words:

“Hard pressed I find thee, brother, by the swift
Achilles, who, with feet that never rest,
Pursues thee round the walls of Priam’s town.
But let us make a stand and beat him back.”

And then the crested Hector spake in turn:
“Deïphobus, thou ever hast been dear
To me beyond my other brethren, sons
Of Hecuba and Priam. Now still more
I honor thee, since thou hast seen my plight,
And for my sake hast ventured forth without
The gates, while all the rest remain within.”

And then the blue-eyed Pallas spake again:
“Brother! ’tis true, my father, and the queen,
My mother, and my comrades, clasped my knees
In turn, and earnestly entreated me
That I would not go forth, such fear had fallen
On all of them; but I was grieved for thee.
Now let us combat valiantly, nor spare
The weapons that we bear, and we shall learn
Whether Achilles, having slain us both,
Will carry to the fleet our bloody spoil,
Or die himself, the victim of thy spear.”

The treacherous goddess spake, and led the way;
And when the advancing chiefs stood face to face,
The crested hero, Hector, thus began:⁠—

“No longer I avoid thee as of late,
O son of Peleus! Thrice around the walls
Of Priam’s mighty city have I fled,
Nor dared to wait thy coming. Now my heart
Bids me encounter thee; my time is come
To slay or to be slain. Now let us call
The gods to witness, who attest and guard
The covenants of men. Should Jove bestow
On me the victory, and I take thy life,
Thou shalt meet no dishonor at my hands;
But, stripping off the armor, I will send
The Greeks thy body. Do the like by me.”

The swift Achilles answered with a frown:
“Accursed Hector, never talk to me
Of covenants. Men and lions plight no faith,
Nor wolves agree with lambs, but each must plan
Evil against the other. So between
Thyself and me no compact can exist,
Or understood intent. First, one of us
Must fall and yield his life-blood to the god
Of battles. Summon all thy valor now.
A skilful spearman thou hast need to be,
And a bold warrior. There is no escape,
For now doth Pallas doom thee to be slain
By my good spear. Thou shalt repay to me
The evil thou hast done my countrymen⁠—
My friends whom thou hast slaughtered in thy rage.”

He spake, and, brandishing his massive spear,
Hurled it at Hector, who beheld its aim
From where he stood. He stooped, and over him
The brazen weapon passed, and plunged to earth.
Unseen by royal Hector, Pallas went
And plucked it from the ground, and brought it back
And gave it to the hands of Peleus’ son,
While Hector said to his illustrious foe:⁠—

“Godlike Achilles, thou hast missed thy mark;
Nor hast thou learned my doom from Jupiter,
As thou pretendest. Thou art glib of tongue.
And cunningly thou orderest thy speech,
In hope that I who hear thee may forget
My might and valor. Think not I shall flee,
That thou mayst pierce my back; for thou shalt send
Thy spear, if God permit thee, through my breast
As I rush on thee. Now avoid in turn
My brazen weapon. Would that it might pass
Clean through thee, all its length! The tasks of war
For us of Troy were lighter for thy death,
Thou pest and deadly foe of all our race!”

He spake, and brandishing his massive spear,
Hurled it, nor missed, but in the centre smote
The buckler of Pelides. Far away
It bounded from the brass, and he was vexed
To see that the swift weapon from his hand
Had flown in vain. He stood perplexed and sad;
No second spear had he. He called aloud
On the white-bucklered chief, Deïphobus,
To bring another; but that chief was far,
And Hector saw that it was so, and said:⁠—

“Ah me! The gods have summoned me to die.
I thought my warrior-friend, Deïphobus,
Was by my side; but he is still in Troy,
And Pallas has deceived me. Now my death
Cannot be far⁠—is near; there is no hope
Of my escape, for so it pleases Jove
And Jove’s great archer-son, who have till now
Delivered me. My hour at last is come;
Yet not ingloriously or passively
I die, but first will do some valiant deed,
Of which mankind shall hear in after time.”

He spake, and drew the keen-edged sword that hung,
Massive and finely tempered, at his side,
And sprang⁠—as when an eagle high in heaven,
Through the thick cloud, darts downward to the plain
To clutch some tender lamb or timid hare,
So Hector, brandishing that keen-edged sword,
Sprang forward, while Achilles opposite
Leaped toward him, all on fire with savage hate,
And holding his bright buckler, nobly wrought,
Before him. On his shining helmet waved
The fourfold crest; there tossed the golden tufts
With which the hand of Vulcan lavishly
Had decked it. As in the still hours of night
Hesper goes forth among the host of stars,
The fairest light of heaven, so brightly shone,
Brandished in the right hand of Peleus’ son,
The spear’s keen blade, as, confident to slay
The noble Hector, o’er his glorious form
His quick eye ran, exploring where to plant
The surest wound. The glittering mail of brass
Won from the slain Patroclus guarded well
Each part, save only where the collar-bones
Divide the shoulder from the neck, and there
Appeared the throat, the spot where life is most
In peril. Through that part the noble son
Of Peleus drave his spear; it went quite through
The tender neck, and yet the brazen blade
Cleft not the windpipe, and the power to speak
Remained. The Trojan fell amid the dust,
And thus Achilles boasted o’er his fall:⁠—

“Hector, when from the slain Patroclus thou
Didst strip his armor, little didst thou think
Of danger. Thou hadst then no fear of me,
Who was not near thee to avenge his death.
Fool! There was left within the roomy ships
A mightier one than he, who should come forth,
The avenger of his blood, to take thy life.
Foul dogs and birds of prey shall tear thy flesh;
The Greeks shall honor him with funeral rites.”

And then the crested Hector faintly said:
“I pray thee by thy life, and by thy knees,
And by thy parents, suffer not the dogs
To tear me at the galleys of the Greeks.
Accept abundant store of brass and gold,
Which gladly will my father and the queen,
My mother, give in ransom. Send to them
My body, that the warriors and the dames
Of Troy may light for me the funeral pile.”

The swift Achilles answered with a frown:
“Nay, by my knees entreat me not, thou cur,
Nor by my parents. I could even wish
My fury prompted me to cut thy flesh
In fragments, and devour it, such the wrong
That I have had from thee. There will be none
To drive away the dogs about thy head,
Not though thy Trojan friends should bring to me
Tenfold and twenty-fold the offered gifts,
And promise others⁠—not though Priam, sprung
From Dardanus, should send thy weight in gold.
Thy mother shall not lay thee on thy bier,
To sorrow over thee whom she brought forth;
But dogs and birds of prey shall mangle thee.”

And then the crested Hector, dying, said:
“I know thee, and too clearly I foresaw
I should not move thee, for thou hast a heart
Of iron. Yet reflect that for my sake
The anger of the gods may fall on thee,
When Paris and Apollo strike thee down,
Strong as thou art, before the Scaean gates.”
Thus Hector spake, and straightway o’er him closed
The night of death; the soul forsook his limbs,
And flew to Hades, grieving for its fate⁠—
So soon divorced from youth and youthful might.
Then said the great Achilles to the dead:⁠—

“Die thou; and I, whenever it shall please
Jove and the other gods, will meet my fate.”

He spake, and, plucking forth his brazen lance,
He laid it by, and from the body stripped
The bloody mail. The thronging Greeks beheld
With wonder Hector’s tall and stately form,
And no one came who did not add a wound;
And, looking to each other, thus they said:⁠—

“How much more tamely Hector now endures
Our touch than when he set the fleet on fire!”

Such were the words of those who smote the dead;
But now, when swift Achilles from the corpse
Had stripped the armor, he stood forth among
The Achaian host, and spake these wingèd words:⁠—

“Leaders and princes of the Grecian host!
Since we, my friends, by favor of the gods,
Have overcome the chief who wrought more harm
To us than all the rest, let us assault
The town, and learn what they of Troy intend⁠—
Whether their troops will leave the citadel
Since he is slain, or hold it with strong hand,
Though Hector is no more. But why give thought
To plans like these while yet Patroclus lies
A corse unwept, unburied, at the fleet?
I never will forget him while I live
And while these limbs have motion. Though below
In Hades they forget the dead, yet I
Will there remember my beloved friend.
Now then, ye youths of Greece, move on and chant
A paean, while, returning to the fleet,
We bring great glory with us; we have slain
The noble Hector, whom, throughout their town,
The Trojans ever worshipped like a god.”

He spake, and, planning in his mind to treat
The noble Hector shamefully, he bored
The sinews of his feet between the heel
And ankle; drawing through them leathern thongs
He bound them to the car, but left the head
To trail in dust. And then he climbed the car,
Took in the shining mail, and lashed to speed
The coursers. Not unwillingly they flew.
Around the dead, as he was dragged along,
The dust arose; his dark locks swept the ground
That head, of late so noble in men’s eyes,
Lay deep amid the dust, for Jove that day
Suffered the foes of Hector to insult
His corse in his own land. His mother saw,
And tore her hair, and flung her lustrous veil
Away, and uttered piercing shrieks. No less
His father, who so loved him, piteously
Bewailed him; and in all the streets of Troy
The people wept aloud, with such lament
As if the towery Ilium were in flames
Even to its loftiest roofs. They scarce could keep
The aged king within, who, wild with grief,
Struggled to rush through the Dardanian gates,
And, rolling in the dust, entreated all
Who stood around him, calling them by name:⁠—

“Refrain, my friends, though kind be your intent.
Let me go forth alone, and at the fleet
Of Greece will I entreat this man of blood
And violence. He may perchance be moved
With reverence for my age, and pity me
In my gray hairs; for such a one as I
Is Peleus, his own father, by whose care
This Greek was reared to be a scourge to Troy,
And, more than all, a cause of grief to me,
So many sons of mine in life’s fresh prime
Have fallen by his hand. I mourn for them,
But not with such keen anguish as I mourn
For Hector. Sorrow for his death will bring
My soul to Hades. Would that he had died
Here in my arms! This solace had been ours⁠—
His most unhappy mother and myself
Had stooped to shed these tears upon his bier.”

He spake, and wept, and all the citizens
Wept with him. Hecuba among the dames
Took up the lamentation, and began:⁠—

“Why do I live, my son, when thou art dead,
And I so wretched?⁠—thou who wert my boast
Ever, by night and day, where’er I went,
And whom the Trojan men and matrons called
Their bulwark, honoring thee as if thou wert
A god. They glory in thy might no more,
Since Fate and Death have overtaken thee.”

Weeping she spake. Meantime Andromache
Had heard no tidings of her husband yet.
No messenger had even come to say
That he was still without the gates. She sat
In a recess of those magnificent halls,
And wove a twofold web of brilliant hues,
On which were scattered flowers of rare device;
And she had given her bright-haired maidens charge
To place an ample cauldron on the fire,
That Hector, coming from the battle-field,
Might find the warm bath ready. Thoughtless one!
She knew not that the blue-eyed archer-queen,
Far from the bath prepared for him, had slain
Her husband by the hand of Peleus’ son.
She heard the shrieks, the wail upon the tower,
Trembled in every limb, and quickly dropped
The shuttle, saying to her bright-haired maids:⁠—

“Come with me, two of you, that I may learn
What now has happened. ’Tis my mother’s voice
That I have heard. My heart leaps to my mouth;
My limbs fail under me. Some deadly harm
Hangs over Priam’s sons; far be the hour
When I shall hear of it. And yet I fear
Lest that Achilles, having got between
The daring Hector and the city gates,
May drive him to the plain alone, and quell
The desperate valor that was ever his;
For never would he keep the ranks, but ranged
Beyond them, and gave way to no man’s might.”

She spake, and from the royal mansion rushed
Distractedly, and with a beating heart.
Her maids went with her. When she reached the tower
And throng of men, and, standing on the wall,
Looked forth, she saw her husband dragged away
Before the city. Toward the Grecian fleet
The swift steeds drew him. Sudden darkness came
Over her eyes, and in a breathless swoon
She sank away and fell. The ornaments
Dropped from her brow⁠—the wreath, the woven band,
The net, the veil which golden Venus gave
That day when crested Hector wedded her,
Dowered with large gifts, and led her from her home,
Eëtion’s palace. Round her in a throng
Her sisters of the house of Priam pressed,
And gently raised her in that deathlike swoon.
But when she breathed again, and to its seat
The conscious mind returned, as in their arms
She lay, with sobs and broken speech she said:⁠—

“Hector⁠—O wretched me!⁠—we both were born
To sorrow; thou at Troy, in Priam’s house,
And I at Thebé in Eëtion’s halls,
By woody Placos. From a little child
He reared me there⁠—unhappy he, and I
Unhappy! O that I had ne’er been born!
Thou goest down to Hades and the depths
Of earth, and leavest me in thine abode,
Widowed, and never to be comforted.
Thy son, a speechless babe, to whom we two
Gave being⁠—hapless parents!⁠—cannot have
Thy loving guardianship now thou art dead,
Nor be a joy to thee. Though he survive
The cruel warfare which the sons of Greece
Are waging, hard and evil yet will be
His lot hereafter; others will remove
His landmarks and will make his fields their own.
The day in which a boy is fatherless
Makes him companionless; with downcast eyes
He wanders, and his cheeks are stained with tears.
Unfed he goes where sit his father’s friends,
And plucks one by the cloak, and by the robe
Another. One who pities him shall give
A scanty draught, which only wets his lips,
But not his palate; while another boy,
Whose parents both are living, thrusts him thence
With blows and vulgar clamor: ‘Get thee gone!
Thy father is not with us at the feast.’
Then to his widowed mother shall return
Astyanax in tears, who not long since
Was fed, while sitting in his father’s lap,
On marrow and the delicate fat of lambs.
And ever when his childish sports had tired
The boy, and sleep came stealing over him,
He slumbered, softly cushioned, on a couch
And in his nurse’s arms, his heart at ease
And satiate with delights. But now thy son
Astyanax⁠—whom so the Trojans name
Because thy valor guarded gate and tower⁠—
Thy care withdrawn, shall suffer many things.
While far from those who gave thee birth, beside
The roomy ships of Greece, the restless worms
Shall make thy flesh their banquet when the dogs
Have gorged themselves. Thy garments yet remain
Within the palace, delicately wrought
And graceful, woven by the women’s hands;
And these, since thou shalt put them on no more,
Nor wear them in thy death, I burn with fire
Before the Trojan men and dames; and all
Shall see how gloriously thou wert arrayed.”

Weeping she spake, and with her wept her maid.