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

Asia Minor: Troy


By Thomas Sackville (1536–1608)

(From The Induction)

BUT Troy, alas, methought, above them all,

It made mine eyes in very tears consume:

When I beheld the woful word befall,

That by the wrathful will of gods was come;

And Jove’s unmoved sentence and foredoom

On Priam king, and on his town so bent.

I could not lin but I must there lament.

And that the more, sith destiny was so stern

As, force perforce, there might no force avail,

But she must fall; and by her fall we learn

That cities, towers, wealth, world, and all shall quail:

No manhood might, nor nothing might prevail;

All were there prest full many a prince, and peer,

And many a knight that sold his death full dear.

Not worthy Hector, worthiest of them all,

Her hope, her joy, his force is now for naught:

O Troy, Troy, Troy, there is no boot but bale,

The hugy horse within thy walls is brought;

Thy turrets fall, thy knights, that whilom fought

In arms amid the field, are slain in bed,

Thy gods defiled, and all thy honor dead.

The flames upspring, and cruelly they creep

From wall to roof, till all to cinders waste:

Some fire the houses where the wretches sleep,

Some rush in here, some run in there as fast;

In everywhere or sword or fire they taste:

The walls are torn, the towers whirled to the ground;

There is no mischief but may there be found.

Cassandra yet there saw I how they haled

From Pallas’ house, with spercled tress undone,

Her wrists fast bound, and with Greeks’ rout empaled:

And Priam eke, in vain how he did run

To arms, whom Pyrrhus with despite hath done

To cruel death, and bathed him in the baign

Of his son’s blood, before the altar slain.

But how can I describe the doleful sight,

That in the shield so lively fair did shine?

Sith in this world I think was never wight

Could have set forth the half, not half so fine:

I can no more, but tell how there is seen

Fair Ilium fall in burning red gledes down,

And, from the soil, great Troy, Neptunus’ town.