Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Asia Minor: Troy


By Homer (fl. 850 B.C.)

(From The Iliad, Book XXIV)
Translated by W. C. Bryant

CASSANDRA, beautiful as Venus, stood

On Pergamus, and from its height discerned

Her father, standing on the chariot-seat,

And knew the herald, him whose voice so oft

Summoned the citizens, and knew the dead

Stretched on a litter drawn by mules. She raised

Her voice, and called to all the city thus:—

“O Trojan men and women, hasten forth

To look on Hector, if ye e’er rejoiced

To see him coming from the field alive,

The pride of Troy, and all who dwell in her.”

She spake, and suddenly was neither man

Nor woman left within the city bounds.

Deep grief was on them all; they went to meet,

Near to the gates, the monarch bringing home

The dead. And first the wife whom Hector loved

Rushed with his reverend mother to the car

As it rolled on, and, plucking out their hair,

Touched with their hands the forehead of the dead,

While round it pressed the multitude, and wept,

And would have wept before the gates all day,

Even to the set of sun, in bitter grief

For Hector’s loss, had not the aged man

Addressed the people from his chariot-seat:

“Give place to me, and let the mules pass on,

And ye may weep your fill when once the dead

Is laid within the palace.” As he spake,

The throng gave way and let the chariot pass;

And having brought it to the royal halls,

On a fair couch they laid the corse, and placed

Singers beside it, leaders of the dirge,

Who sang a sorrowful, lamenting strain,

And all the women answered it with sobs.

White-armed Andromache in both her hands

Took warlike Hector’s head, and over it

Began the lamentation midst them all:—

“Thou hast died young, my husband, leaving me

In this thy home a widow, and one son,

An infant yet. To an unhappy pair

He owes his birth, and never will, I fear,

Bloom into youth; for ere that day will Troy

Be overthrown, since thou, its chief defence,

Art dead, the guardian of its walls and all

Its noble matrons and its speechless babes,

Yet to be carried captive far away,

And I among them, in the hollow barks;

And thou, my son, wilt either go with me,

Where thou shalt toil at menial tasks for some

Pitiless master; or perhaps some Greek

Will seize thy little arm, and in his rage

Will hurl thee from a tower and dash thee dead,

Remembering how thy father, Hector, slew

His brother, son, or father; for the hand

Of Hector forced full many a Greek to bite

The dust of earth. Not slow to smite was he

In the fierce conflict; therefore all who dwell

Within the city sorrow for his fall.

Thou bringest an unutterable grief,

O Hector, on thy parents, and on me

The sharpest sorrows. Thou didst not stretch forth

Thy hands to me, in dying, from thy couch,

Nor speak a word to comfort me, which I

Might ever think of night and day with tears.”