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SHEPHERD. I know not rightly, though one well may guess.P. 17, l. 284 ff. The description of the march of the mountaineers, the vast crowd, the noise, the mixture of all arms, suggests personal observation. A great many fifth-century Athenians had probably served some time or other in Thrace. 'Tis hard to land at night, with such a press Of spears, on a strange coast, where rumours tell Of foes through all the plain-land. We that dwell On Ida, in the rock, Troy's ancient root And hearth-stone, were well frighted, through the mute And wolfish thickets thus to hear him break. A great and rushing noise those Thracians make, Marching. We, all astonied, ran to drive Our sheep to the upmost heights. 'Twas some Argive, We thought, who came to sweep the mountain clear And waste thy folds; till suddenly our ear Caught at their speech, and knew 'twas nothing Greek. Then all our terror fled. I r
Thou Rider golden and swift and sheer, Achilles falters: appear! appear! The car like flame where the red shield leapeth, The fell white steeds and the burning spear! No Greek shall boast he hath seen thy face And danced again in the dancing place; And the land shall laugh for the sheaves she reapeth, Of spoilers dead by a sword from Thrace.
A sound of moaning outside in the darkness, which has been heard during the last few lines, now grows into articulate words. VOICE. Woe, woe! The burden of the wrath of fate! GUARDS. Ha, listen! Wait. Crouch on the ground; it may be yet Our man is drawing to the net. VOICE. P. 42, 1. 728, Voice of the wounded man outside.]- The puzzled and discouraged talk of the Guards round the fire, the groaning in the darkness without, the quick alarm among the men who had been careless before, and the slow realisation of disaster that follows-all these seem to me to be wonderfully indicated, though the severe poetic convention excludes any approach to what we, by modern prose standards, would call effective realism. Woe, woe! The burden of the hills of Thrace! LEADER. An ally? None of Hellene race.