homeric melodrama

When in the line of cruel battle

When the anguish and the fear and the cries to gods rise up

When the spears shatter and the knees buckle and the bowels loosen

When the ground is mud beneath and the longing comes to dig down and sleep and rest from sorrowful war

The man may stand and shout loud defiance

But when cruel battle continues its push

When companions turn and flee

When the man in an instant can suffer no more

And forgetting all pride he begs the bright gods with tears

No more, please no more

Will he turn, will he flee through the mud beneath?

Will his buckling knees carry him past the shattered spears and anguished cries?

Will the gods and companions call this man a coward

Who stands no more than he can

And flees and cries only when his warlike spirit has also fled

In the line of cruel battle?

Would that some god come and stand

In place of the man who flees and cries

Who speaks winged words instead of shaming and

Who wins the victory when none is deserved

When a man flees in the line of cruel battle.

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