Poem of the day

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)


Rend, rend thy hair, Cassandra: he will go.⁠⁠⁠
      Yea, rend thy garments, wring thy hands, and cry
⁠      From Troy still towered to the unreddened sky.
See, all but she that bore thee mock thy woe:—
He most whom that fair woman arms, with show
⁠      Of wrath on her bent brows; for in this place
⁠      This hour thou bad’st all men in Helen’s face
The ravished ravishing prize of Death to know.

What eyes, what ears hath sweet Andromache,
⁠      Save for her Hector’s form and step; as tear
⁠⁠            On tear make salt the warm last kiss he gave?
He goes. Cassandra’s words beat heavily
⁠      Like crows above his crest, and at his ear
⁠            ⁠Ring hollow in the shield that shall not save.


“O Hector, gone, gone, gone! O Hector, thee
⁠      Two chariots wait, in Troy long bless’d and curs’d;
⁠      And Grecian spear and Phrygian sand athirst
Crave from thy veins the blood of victory.
Lo! long upon our hearth the brand had we,
⁠Lit for the roof-tree’s ruin: and to-day
⁠The ground-stone quits the wall,—the wind hath way.—
And higher and higher the wings of fire are free.

O Paris, Paris! O thou burning brand,
⁠      Thou beacon of the sea whence Venus rose,
Lighting thy race to shipwreck! Even that hand
⁠      Wherewith she took thine apple let her close
⁠      Within thy curls at last, and while Troy glows
Lift thee her trophy to the sea and land.”

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