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on weary hearts of men most sweetly steals.
O, then my slumbering senses seemed to see
Hector, with woeful face and streaming eyes;
I seemed to see him from the chariot trailing,
foul with dark dust and gore, his swollen feet
pierced with a cruel thong. Ah me! what change
from glorious Hector when he homeward bore
the spoils of fierce Achilles; or hurled far
that shower of torches on the ships of Greece!
Unkempt his beard, his tresses thick with blood,
and all those wounds in sight which he did take
defending Troy. Then, weeping as I spoke,
I seemed on that heroic shape to call
with mournful utterance: “O star of Troy!
O surest hope and stay of all her sons!
Why tarriest thou so Iong? What region sends
the long-expected Hector home once more?
These weary eyes that look on thee have seen
hosts of thy kindred die, and fateful change
upon thy people and thy city fall.
O, say what dire occasion has defiled
thy tranquil brows? What mean those bleeding wounds?”
Silent he stood, nor anywise would stay
my vain lament; but groaned, and answered thus:
“Haste, goddess-born, and out of yonder flames
achieve thy flight. Our foes have scaled the wall;
exalted Troy is falling. Fatherland
and Priam ask no more. If human arm
could profit Troy, my own had kept her free.
Her Lares and her people to thy hands
Troy here commends. Companions let them be
of all thy fortunes. Let them share thy quest
of that wide realm, which, after wandering far,
thou shalt achieve, at last, beyond the sea.”
He spoke: and from our holy hearth brought forth
the solemn fillet, the ancestral shrines,
and Vesta's ever-bright, inviolate fire.
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