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But woe is me! If gods their help withhold,
't is impious to be brave. That very hour
the fair Cassandra passed us, bound in chains,
King Priam's virgin daughter, from the shrine
and altars of Minerva; her loose hair
had lost its fillet; her impassioned eyes
were lifted in vain prayer,—her eyes alone!
For chains of steel her frail, soft hands confined.
Coroebus' eyes this horror not endured,
and, sorrow-crazed, he plunged him headlong in
the midmost fray, self-offered to be slain,
while in close mass our troop behind him poured.
But, at this point, the overwhelming spears
of our own kinsmen rained resistless down
from a high temple-tower; and carnage wild
ensued, because of the Greek arms we bore
and our false crests. The howling Grecian band,
crazed by Cassandra's rescue, charged at us
from every side; Ajax of savage soul,
the sons of Atreus, and that whole wild horde
Achilles from Dolopian deserts drew.
'T was like the bursting storm, when gales contend,
west wind and South, and jocund wind of morn
upon his orient steeds—while forests roar,
and foam-flecked Nereus with fierce trident stirs
the dark deep of the sea. All who did hide
in shadows of the night, by our assault
surprised, and driven in tumultuous flight,
now start to view. Full well they now can see
our shields and borrowed arms, and clearly note
our speech of alien sound; their multitude
o'erwhelms us utterly. Coroebus first
at mailed Minerva's altar prostrate lay,
pierced by Peneleus, blade; then Rhipeus fell;
we deemed him of all Trojans the most just,
most scrupulously righteous; but the gods
gave judgment otherwise. There Dymas died,
and Hypanis, by their compatriots slain;
nor thee, O Panthus, in that mortal hour,
could thy clean hands or Phoebus, priesthood save.
O ashes of my country! funeral pyre
of all my kin! bear witness that my breast
shrank not from any sword the Grecian drew,
and that my deeds the night my country died
deserved a warrior's death, had Fate ordained.
But soon our ranks were broken; at my side
stayed Iphitus and Pelias; one with age
was Iong since wearied, and the other bore
the burden of Ulysses' crippling wound.
Straightway the roar and tumult summoned us
to Priam's palace,

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load focus Notes (Georgius Thilo, 1881)
load focus Notes (John Conington, 1876)
load focus English (John Dryden)
load focus Latin (J. B. Greenough, 1900)
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    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 68b
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