Of old it went forth to Euchenor, pronounced of his sire —
Reluctant, impelled by the god’s unescapable fire —
To choose for his doom or to perish at home of disease
Or be slain of his foes, among men, where Troy surges down to the seas.
Polyides, the soothsayer, spake it, inflamed by the god.
Of his son whom the fates singled out did he bruit it abroad;
And Euchenor went down to the ships with his armor and men
And straightway, grown dim on the gulf, passed the isles
he passed never again.
Why weep ye, O women of Corinth? The doom ye have heard
Is it strange to your ears that ye make it so mournful a word?
Is he who so fair in your eyes to his manhood upgrew,
Alone in his doom of pale death — are of mortals the beaten so few?
O weep not, companions and lovers! Turn back to your joys:
The defeat was not his which he chose, nor the victory Troy’s.
Him a conqueror, beauteous in youth, o’er the flood his fleet brought,
And the swift spear of Paris that slew completed the conquest he sought.
Not the falling proclaims the defeat, but the place of the fall;
And the fate that decrees and the god that impels through it all
Regard not blind mortals’ divisions of slayer and slain,
But invisible glories dispense wide over the war-gleaming plain.
© Arthur Upson