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What Myrmidon or Dolopian, or soldier of the stern Ulysses, could refrain from tears in telling such a tale? And now dewy night is speeding from the sky and the setting stars counsel sleep. They pretend it is an offering for their safe return; this is the rumour that goes abroad. Here, within its dark sides, they stealthily enclose the choicest of their stalwart men and deep within they fill the huge cavern of the Girls of a tender age essay with armed soldiery.
Hither they sail and hide themselves on the barren shore. We thought they had gone and before the wind were bound for Mycenae. So all the Teucrian land frees itself from its long sorrow.
The gates are opened; it is a joy to go and see the Doric camp, the deserted stations and forsaken shore.
Here the Dolopian bands encamped, here cruel Achilles; here lay the fleet; here they used to meet us in battle. But Capys, and they whose minds were wiser in counsel, bid us either hurl headlong into the sea this guile of the Greeks, this distrusted gift, or fire it with flames heaped beneath; or else pierce and probe the hollow hiding place of the belly.
The wavering crowd is torn into opposing factions. Do you believe the foe has sailed away? Do you think that any gifts of the Greeks are free from treachery? Is Ulysses known to be this sort of man?
Either enclosed in this frame there lurk Achaeans, or this has been built as an engine of war against our walls, to spy into our homes and come down upon the city from above; or some trickery lurks inside. Men of Troy, trust not the horse.
Whatever it be, I fear the Greeks, even when bringing gifts. To compass this very end and open Troy to the Achaeans, deliberately, stranger though he was, he had placed himself in their path, confident in spirit and ready for either event, either to ply his crafty wiles or to meet certain death.
From all sides, in eagerness to see, the Trojan youth run streaming in and vie in mocking the captive. Hear now the treachery of the Greeks and from a single crime learn the wickedness of all.
Or what fate at the last yet awaits my misery? No place at all have I among the Greeks, and the Trojans themselves, too, wildly clamour for vengeance and my life.
We urge him to say from what blood he is sprung and what tidings he brings. This first I own; nor, if Fortune has moulded Sinon for misery, will she also in her spite mould him as false and lying. If it chance that speech to your ears has brought some rumour of Palamedes, son of Belus, and the glory of his fame — whom under false evidence, by wicked witnessing, because he forbade the war, the Pelasgians sent down innocent to death, and mourn him, now that he is bereft of light — in his company, being of kindred blood, my father, poor as he was, sent me hither to arms in my earliest years.
While he stood secure in princely power and strong in the councils of the kings, we, too, bore some name and renown. But when through the malice of subtle Ulysses — not unknown is the tale — he passed from this world above, I dragged on my ruined life in darkness and grief, wrathful in my heart over the fate of my innocent friend.
Nor in my madness was I silent, but, if any chance should offer, if I ever returned in triumph to my native Argos, I vowed myself his avenger and with my words awoke fierce hate. Hence for me the first taint of ill; hence would Ulysses ever terrify me with new charges; hence would he sow dark rumours in the crowd and with guilty fear seek weapons.
Nor indeed id he rest until with Calchas as his tool — but why do I vainly unroll this unwelcome tale? Or why delay you? If you hold the Achaeans in one rank, and if it is enough to hear that, take your vengeance at once; this the Ithacan would wish and the son of Atreus buy at a great price!
Trembling he takes up the tale and speaks with feigned emotion: Often a fierce tempest on the deep cut them off and the gale scared them from going. Above all, when this horse was ready, a structure compacted of maple beams, storm clouds thundered throughout the sky.
Perplexed, we send Eurypylus to ask the oracle of Phoebus, and he brings back from the shrine the gloomy words: For whom is fate preparing this doom? Whom does Apollo claim? On this the Ithacan with loud clamour drags the seer Calchas into their midst and demands what this is that the gods will.
Twice five days is the seer silent in his tent, refusing to denounce any by his lips or to consign to death. I snatched myself, I confess, from death; I burst my bonds, and lurked all night in muddy mere, hidden in the sedge, until they should set sail, in case they would. And now no hope have I of seeing my ancient homeland, or my sweet children and the father I long for.
Of them perchance they will demand due punishment for my flight, and by their death, unhappy ones, expiate this crime of mine.
But I beseech you, by the gods above, by the powers that know the truth, by whatever faith may still be found unstained anywhere among mortals, pity such distress; pity a soul that bears sorrow undeserved!
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