After Troy

We flung against their gods,
invincible, clear hate;
we fought;
frantic, we flung the last
imperious, desperate shaft
and lost:
we knew the loss
before they ever guessed
fortune had tossed to them
her favour and her whim;
but how were we depressed?
we lost yet as we pressed
our spearsmen on their best,
we knew their line invincible
because there fell
on them no shiverings
of the white enchantress,
radiant Aphrodite's spell:

we hurled our shafts of passion,
noblest hate,
and knew their cause was blest,
and knew their gods were nobler,
better taught in skill,
subtler with wit of thought,
yet had it been God's will
that they not we should fall,
we know those fields had bled
with roses lesser red.
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