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Laocoon, with all his following choir,
hurried indignant down; and from afar
thus hailed the people: “O unhappy men!
What madness this? Who deems our foemen fled?
Think ye the gifts of Greece can lack for guile?
Have ye not known Ulysses? The Achaean
hides, caged in yonder beams; or this is reared
for engin'ry on our proud battlements,
to spy upon our roof-tops, or descend
in ruin on the city. 'T is a snare.
Trust not this horse, O Troy, whate'er it bode!
I fear the Greeks, though gift on gift they bear.”
So saying, he whirled with ponderous javelin
a sturdy stroke straight at the rounded side
of the great, jointed beast. A tremor struck
its towering form, and through the cavernous womb
rolled loud, reverberate rumbling, deep and long.
If heaven's decree, if our own wills, that hour,
had not been fixed on woe, his spear had brought
a bloody slaughter on our ambushed foe,
and Troy were standing on the earth this day!
O Priam's towers, ye were unfallen still!
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