Stirred now by the Muse , the bard launched out
in a fine blaze of song , starting at just the point
where the main Achaean force , setting their camps afire ,
had boarded the oarswept ships and sailed for home
but famed Odysseus’ men already crouched and hiding‒
in the heart of Troy’s assembly‒ dark in that horse
the Trojans dragged themselves to the city heights .
Now it stood there , looming…
and round its bulk the Trojans sat debating ,
clashing , days on end , three plans split their ranks :
either to hack open the hollow vault with ruthless bronze
or haul it up to the highest ridge and pitch it down the cliffs
or let it stand‒ a glorious offering made to pacify the gods‒
and that , that final plan , was bound to win the day .
For Troy was fated to perish once the city lodged
inside her walls the monstrous wooden horse
where the prime of Argive power lay in wait
with death and slaughter bearing down on Troy .
And he sang how troops of Achaeans broke from cover ,
streaming out from the horse’s hollow flanks to plunder Troy‒
he sang how left and right they ravaged the steep city ,
sang how Odysseus marched right up to Deiphobus’ house
like the god of war on attack with diehard Menelaus .
There , he sang , Odysseus fought the grimmest fight
he had ever braved but he won through at last ,
thanks to Athena’s superhuman power .
That was the song the famous harper sang
but great Odysseus melted into tears ,
running down from his eyes to wet his cheeks…
as a woman weeps , her arms flung round her darling husband ,
a man who fell in battle , fighting for town and townsmen ,
trying to beat the day of doom from home and children .
Seeing the man go down , dying , gasping for breath ,
she clings for dear life , screams and shrills‒
but the victors , just behind her ,
digging spear buts into her back and shoulders ,
drag her off in bondage , yoked to hard labor , pain ,
and the most heartbreaking torment wastes her cheeks .
So from Odysseus’ eyes ran tears of heartbreak now .
ὣς φάθʼ , ὁ δʼ ὁρμηθεὶς θεοῦ ἤρχετο , φαῖνε δʼ ἀοιδήν ,
ἔνθεν ἑλὼν ὡς οἱ μὲν ἐυσσέλμων ἐπὶ νηῶν
βάντες ἀπέπλειον , πῦρ ἐν κλισίῃσι βαλόντες ,
Ἀργεῖοι , τοὶ δʼ ἤδη ἀγακλυτὸν ἀμφʼ Ὀδυσῆα
ἥατʼ ἐνὶ Τρώων ἀγορῇ κεκαλυμμένοι ἵππῳ ·
αὐτοὶ γάρ μιν Τρῶες ἐς ἀκρόπολιν ἐρύσαντο .
ὣς ὁ μὲν ἑστήκει , τοὶ δʼ ἄκριτα πόλλʼ ἀγόρευον
ἥμενοι ἀμφʼ αὐτόν · τρίχα δέ σφισιν ἥνδανε βουλή ,
ἠὲ διαπλῆξαι κοῖλον δόρυ νηλέι χαλκῷ ,
ἢ κατὰ πετράων βαλέειν ἐρύσαντας ἐπʼ ἄκρης ,
ἢ ἐάαν μέγʼ ἄγαλμα θεῶν θελκτήριον εἶναι ,
τῇ περ δὴ καὶ ἔπειτα τελευτήσεσθαι ἔμελλεν ·
αἶσα γὰρ ἦν ἀπολέσθαι , ἐπὴν πόλις ἀμφικαλύψῃ
δουράτεον μέγαν ἵππον , ὅθʼ ἥατο πάντες ἄριστοι
Ἀργείων Τρώεσσι φόνον καὶ κῆρα φέροντες .
ἤειδεν δʼ ὡς ἄστυ διέπραθον υἷες Ἀχαιῶν
ἱππόθεν ἐκχύμενοι , κοῖλον λόχον ἐκπρολιπόντες .
ἄλλον δʼ ἄλλῃ ἄειδε πόλιν κεραϊζέμεν αἰπήν ,
αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσῆα προτὶ δώματα Δηιφόβοιο
βήμεναι , ἠύτʼ Ἄρηα σὺν ἀντιθέῳ Μενελάῳ .
κεῖθι δὴ αἰνότατον πόλεμον φάτο τολμήσαντα
νικῆσαι καὶ ἔπειτα διὰ μεγάθυμον Ἀθήνην .
ταῦτʼ ἄρʼ ἀοιδὸς ἄειδε περικλυτός · αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς
τήκετο , δάκρυ δʼ ἔδευεν ὑπὸ βλεφάροισι παρειάς .
ὡς δὲ γυνὴ κλαίῃσι φίλον πόσιν ἀμφιπεσοῦσα ,
ὅς τε ἑῆς πρόσθεν πόλιος λαῶν τε πέσῃσιν ,
ἄστεϊ καὶ τεκέεσσιν ἀμύνων νηλεὲς ἦμαρ ·
ἡ μὲν τὸν θνήσκοντα καὶ ἀσπαίροντα ἰδοῦσα
ἀμφʼ αὐτῷ χυμένη λίγα κωκύει · οἱ δέ τʼ ὄπισθε
κόπτοντες δούρεσσι μετάφρενον ἠδὲ καὶ ὤμους
εἴρερον εἰσανάγουσι , πόνον τʼ ἐχέμεν καὶ ὀιζύν ·
τῆς δʼ ἐλεεινοτάτῳ ἄχεϊ φθινύθουσι παρειαί ·
ὣς Ὀδυσεὺς ἐλεεινὸν ὑπʼ ὀφρύσι δάκρυον εἶβεν .
Thus he spoke , and the man urged on by a god was beginning , and was making a song appear ,
from that point choosing how the men , stepping aboard ships with sturdy banks of oars
were sailing off , having thrown fire into the huts ,
the Argives , and verily they were already sitting around renowned Odysseus in the assembly of Troy after concealing themselves within the horse .
For the Trojans themselves dragged it into the citadel .
Thus it had stood , while they indeed were making many confused speeches ,
sitting around this thing . The council satisfied them with three plans :
either to cleave asunder the hollow wood with pitless bronze ,
or to toss the thing down from cliffs after dragging it onto a headland ,
or to permit that the great thing be a soothing gift for the gods ,
and so for this plan it was destined at all events that they would then see it through .
For it was appointed that they destroy themselves , after the city should receive
the great wooden horse , when all the best
of the Argives were sitting within , bearing murder and ruin for the Trojans .
As he sang , the sons of the Achaeans laid waste to the city ,
pouring forth from the horse , after forsaking the hollow ambuscade .
He was singing that one for another they ravaged the lofty city ,
yet Odysseus strode towards the house of Deiphobus ,
like Ares together with godlike Menelaus .
He was saying that after enduring his grimmest fight
he saw victory through great-hearted Athena .
There and then the renowned bard was singing about these things . Yet Odysseus
was melting and his tears were drenching the cheeks beneath his eyelids .
As a woman weeps , embracing her dear husband ,
who fell before both his city and his people ,
warding off the ruthless day for his city and his children .
Seeing him dying and gasping for breath ,
she lets out a piercing shriek , pouring tears all around him . And the soldiers ,
striking her from behind on her back and shoulders with spears
lead her into slavery , to have toil and misery .
Her cheeks waste away with the most pitiable wretchedness .
Just so , Odysseus let fall piteous tears beneath his eyebrows .