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The Iliad of Homer by Homer (Lang, Leaf, Myers trans.)

Part 3 out of 7

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them, and told them the saying of Zeus.

And father Zeus drave from Ida his fair-wheeled chariot and horses unto
Olympus, and came unto the session of the gods. For him also the noble
Shaker of Earth unyoked the steeds, and set the car upon the stand, and
spread a cloth thereover; and far-seeing Zeus himself sate upon his
golden throne, and beneath his feet great Olympus quaked. Only Athene
and Hera sate apart from Zeus, and spake no word to him neither
questioned him. But he was ware thereof in his heart, and said, "Why are
ye thus vexed, Athene and Hera? Surely ye are not wearied of making
havoc in glorious battle of the Trojans, for whom ye cherish bitter
hate! Howsoever, seeing that my might is so great and my hands
invincible, all the gods that are in Olympus could not turn me: and for
you twain, trembling erst gat hold upon your bright limbs ere that ye
beheld war and war's fell deeds. For thus will I declare, and even so
had the fulfilment been--never had ye, once smitten with the
thunderbolt, fared on your chariots back unto Olympus where is the
habitation of the immortals."

So spake he, and Athene and Hera murmured, that were sitting by him and
devising ills for the Trojans. Now Athene held her peace, and said not
anything, for wrath at father Zeus, and fierce anger gat hold upon her;
but Hera's heart contained not her anger, and she spake: "Most dread son
of Kronos, what word is this thou hast said? Well know we, even we, that
thy might is no wise puny; yet still have we pity for the Danaan
spearmen, that now shall perish and fill up the measure of grievous
fate."

And Zeus the cloud-gatherer answered and said: "At morn shalt thou
behold most mighty Kronion, if thou wilt have it so, O Hera, ox-eyed
queen, making yet more havoc of the vast army of Argive spearmen; for
headlong Hector shall not refrain from battle till that Peleus' son
fleet of foot have arisen beside the ships, that day when these shall
fight amid the sterns in most grievous stress, around Patroklos fallen.
Such is the doom of heaven. And for thine anger reck I not, not even
though thou go to the nethermost bounds of earth and sea, where sit
Iapetos and Kronos and have no joy in the beams of Hyperion the Sun-god,
neither in any breeze, but deep Tartaros is round about them. Though
thou shouldest wander till thou come even thither, yet reck I not of thy
vexation, seeing there is no thing more unabashed than thou."

So said he, but white-armed Hera spake him no word. And the sun's bright
light dropped into Ocean, drawing black night across Earth the
grain-giver. Against the Trojans' will daylight departed, but welcome,
thrice prayed for, to the Achaians came down the murky night.

Now glorious Hector made an assembly of the Trojans, taking them apart
from the ships, beside the eddying river, in an open space where was
found a spot clear of dead. And they came down from their chariots to
the ground to hear the word that Hector, dear unto Zeus, proclaimed. He
in his hand held his spear eleven cubits long; before his face gleamed
the spearhead of bronze, and a ring of gold ran round about it. Thereon
he leaned and spake to the Trojans, saying: "Hearken to me, Trojans and
Dardanians and allies. I thought but now to make havoc of the ships and
all the Achaians and depart back again to windy Ilios; but dusk came too
soon, and that in chief hath now saved the Argives and the ships beside
the beach of the sea. So let us now yield to black night, and make our
supper ready; unyoke ye from the chariots your fair-maned horses, and
set fodder beside them. And from the city bring kine and goodly sheep
with speed; and provide you with honey-hearted wine, and corn from your
houses, and gather much wood withal, that all night long until
early-springing dawn we may burn many fires, and the gleam may reach to
heaven; lest perchance even by night the flowing-haired Achaians strive
to take flight over the broad back of the sea. Verily must they not
embark upon their ships unvexed, at ease: but see ye that many a one of
them have a wound to nurse even at home, being stricken with arrow or
keen-pointed spear as he leapeth upon his ship; that so many another man
may dread to wage dolorous war on the horse-taming men of Troy. And let
the heralds dear to Zeus proclaim throughout the city that young maidens
and old men of hoary heads camp round the city on the battlements
builded of the gods; and let the women folk burn a great fire each in
her hall; and let there be a sure watch set, lest an ambush enter the
city when the host is absent. Howbeit for the night will we guard our
own selves, and at morn by daybreak, arrayed in our armour, let us awake
keen battle at the hollow ships. I will know whether Tydeus' son
stalwart Diomedes shall thrust me from the ships back to the wall, or I
shall lay him low with my spear and bear away his gory spoils. To-morrow
shall he prove his valour, whether he can abide the onslaught of my
spear. Would that I were immortal and ageless all my days and honoured
like as Athene is honoured and Apollo, so surely as this day bringeth
the Argives ill."

So Hector made harangue, and the Trojans clamoured applause. And they
loosed their sweating steeds from the yoke, and tethered them with
thongs, each man beside his chariot; and from the city they brought kine
and goodly sheep with speed, and provided them with honey-hearted wine
and corn from their houses, and gathered much wood withal. And from the
plain the winds bare into heaven the sweet savour. But these with high
hopes sate them all night along the highways of the battle, and their
watchfires burned in multitude. Even as when in heaven the stars about
the bright moon shine clear to see, when the air is windless, and all
the peaks appear and the tall headlands and glades, and from heaven
breaketh open the infinite air, and all stars are seen, and the
shepherd's heart is glad; even in like multitude between the ships and
the streams of Xanthos appeared the watchfires that the Trojans kindled
in front of Ilios. A thousand fires burned in the plain and by the side
of each sate fifty in the gleam of blazing fire. And the horses champed
white barley and spelt, and standing by their chariots waited for the
throned Dawn.

BOOK IX.

How Agamemnon sent an embassage to Achilles, beseeching him
to be appeased; and how Achilles denied him.

Thus kept the Trojans watch; but the Achaians were holden of heaven-sent
panic, handmaid of palsying fear, and all their best were stricken to
the heart with grief intolerable. Like as two winds stir up the main,
the home of fishes, even the north wind and the west wind that blow from
Thrace, coming suddenly; and the dark billow straightway lifteth up its
crest and casteth much tangle out along the sea; even so was the
Achaians' spirit troubled in their breast.

But Atreides was stricken to the heart with sore grief, and went about
bidding the clear-voiced heralds summon every man by name to the
assembly, but not to shout aloud; and himself he toiled amid the
foremost. So they sat sorrowful in assembly, and Agamemnon stood up
weeping like unto a fountain of dark water that from a beetling cliff
poureth down its black stream; even so with deep groaning he spake amid
the Argives and said: "My friends, leaders and captains of the Argives,
Zeus son of Kronos hath bound me with might in grievous blindness of
soul; hard of heart is he, for that erewhile he promised and gave his
pledge that not till I had laid waste well-walled Ilios should I depart,
but now hath planned a cruel wile, and biddeth me return in dishonour to
Argos with the loss of many of my folk. Such meseemeth is the good
pleasure of most mighty Zeus, that hath laid low the heads of many
cities, yea and shall lay low; for his is highest power. So come, even
as I shall bid let us all obey; let us flee with our ships to our dear
native land, for now shall we never take wide-wayed Troy."

So said he, and they all held their peace and kept silence. Long time
were the sons of the Achaians voiceless for grief, but at the last
Diomedes of the loud war-cry spake amid them and said: "Atreides: with
thee first in thy folly will I contend, where it is just, O king, even
in the assembly; be not thou wroth therefor. My valour didst thou blame
in chief amid the Danaans, and saidst that I was no man of war but a
coward; and all this know the Argives both young and old. But the son of
crooked-counselling Kronos hath endowed thee but by halves; he granted
thee to have the honour of the sceptre above all men, but valour he gave
thee not, wherein is highest power. Sir, deemest thou that the sons of
the Achaians are thus indeed cowards and weaklings as thou sayest? If
thine own heart be set on departing, go thy way; the way is before thee,
and thy ships stand beside the sea, even the great multitude that
followed thee from Mykene. But all the other flowing-haired Achaians
will tarry here until we lay waste Troy. Nay, let them too flee on their
ships to their dear native land; yet will we twain, even I and
Sthenelos, fight till we attain the goal of Ilios; for in God's name are
we come."

So said he, and all the sons of the Achaians shouted aloud, applauding
the saying of horse-taming Diomedes. Then knightly Nestor arose and said
amid them: "Tydeides, in battle art thou passing mighty, and in council
art thou best among thine equals in years; none of all the Achaians will
make light of thy word nor gainsay it. Now let us yield to black night
and make ready our meal; and let the sentinels bestow them severally
along the deep-delved foss without the wall. This charge give I to the
young men; and thou, Atreides, lead then the way, for thou art the most
royal. Spread thou a feast for the councillors; that is thy place and
seemly for thee. Thy huts are full of wine that the ships of the
Achaians bring thee by day from Thrace across the wide sea; all
entertainment is for thee, being king over many. In the gathering of
many shalt thou listen to him that deviseth the most excellent counsel;
sore need have all the Achaians of such as is good and prudent, because
hard by the ships our foemen are burning their watch-fires in multitude;
what man can rejoice thereat? This night shall either destroy or save
the host."

So said he, and they gladly hearkened to him and obeyed. Forth sallied
the sentinels in their harness. Seven were the captains of the
sentinels, and with each went fivescore young men bearing their long
spears in their hands; and they took post midway betwixt foss and wall,
and kindled a fire and made ready each man his meal.

Then Atreides gathered the councillors of the Achaians, and led them to
his hut, and spread before them an abundant feast. So they put forth
their hands to the good cheer that lay before them. And when they had
put away from them the desire of meat and drink, then the old man first
began to weave his counsel, even Nestor, whose rede of old time was
approved the best. He spake to them and said: "Most noble son of Atreus,
Agamemnon king of men, in thy name will I end and with thy name begin,
because thou art king over many hosts, and to thy hand Zeus hath
entrusted sceptre and law, that thou mayest take counsel for thy folk.
Thee therefore more than any it behoveth both to speak and hearken, and
to accomplish what another than thou may say. No other man shall have a
more excellent thought than this that I bear in mind from old time even
until now, since the day when thou, O heaven-sprung king, didst go and
take the damsel Briseis from angry Achilles' hut by no consent of ours.
Nay, I right heartily dissuaded thee; but thou yieldedst to thy proud
spirit, and dishonouredst a man of valour whom even the immortals
honoured; for thou didst take and keepest from him his meed of valour.
Still let us even now take thought how we may appease him and persuade
him with gifts of friendship and kindly words."

And Agamemnon king of men answered and said to him: "Old sir, in no
false wise hast thou accused my folly. Fool was I, I myself deny it not.
Worth many hosts is he whom Zeus loveth in his heart, even as now he
honoureth this man and destroyeth the host of the Achaians. But seeing I
was a fool in that I yielded to my sorry passion, I will make amends and
give a recompense beyond telling. In the midst of you all I will name
the excellent gifts; seven tripods untouched of fire, and ten talents of
gold and twenty gleaming caldrons, and twelve stalwart horses, winners
in the race, that have taken prizes by their speed. No lackwealth were
that man whose substance were as great as the prizes my whole-hooved
steeds have borne me off. And seven women will I give, skilled in
excellent handiwork, Lesbians whom I chose me from the spoils the day
that he himself took stablished Lesbos, surpassing womankind in beauty.
These will I give him, and with them shall be she whom erst I took from
him, even the daughter of Briseus. All these things shall be set
straightway before him; and if hereafter the gods grant us to lay waste
the great city of Priam, then let him enter in when we Achaians be
dividing the spoil, and lade his ship full of gold and bronze, and
himself choose twenty Trojan women, the fairest that there be after
Helen of Argos. And if we win to the richest of lands, even Achaian
Argos, he shall be my son and I will hold him in like honour with
Orestes, my stripling boy that is nurtured in all abundance. Three
daughters are mine in my well-builded hall, Chrysothemis and Laodike and
Iphianassa; let him take of them which he will, without gifts of wooing,
to Peleus' house; and I will add a great dower such as no man ever yet
gave with his daughter. And seven well-peopled cities will I give him,
Kardamyle and Enope and grassy Hire and holy Pherai and Antheia deep in
meads, and fair Aipeia and Pedasos land of vines. And all are nigh to
the salt sea, on the uttermost border of sandy Pylos; therein dwell men
abounding in flocks and kine, men that shall worship him like a god with
gifts, and beneath his sway fulfil his prosperous ordinances. All this
will I accomplish so he but cease from wrath. Let him yield; Hades I
ween is not to be softened neither overcome, and therefore is he
hatefullest of all gods to mortals. Yea, let him be ruled by me,
inasmuch as I am more royal and avow me to be the elder in years."

Then knightly Nestor of Gerenia answered and said: "Most noble son of
Atreus, Agamemnon king of men, now are these gifts not lightly to be
esteemed that thou offerest king Achilles. Come therefore, let us speed
forth picked men to go with all haste to the hut of Peleus' son
Achilles. Lo now, whomsoever I appoint let them consent. First let
Phoinix dear to Zeus lead the way, and after him great Aias and noble
Odysseus; and for heralds let Odios and Eurybates be their companions.
And now bring water for our hands, and bid keep holy silence, that we
may pray unto Zeus the son of Kronos, if perchance he will have mercy
upon us."

So said he, and spake words that were well-pleasing unto all. Forthwith
the heralds poured water on their hands, and the young men crowned the
bowls with drink and gave each man his portion after they had poured the
libation in the cups. And when they had made libation and drunk as their
heart desired, they issued forth from the hut of Agamemnon son of
Atreus. And knightly Nestor of Gerenia gave them full charge, with many
a glance to each, and chiefest to Odysseus, how they should essay to
prevail on Peleus' noble son.

So the twain went along the shore of the loud-sounding sea, making
instant prayer to the earth-embracer, the Shaker of the Earth, that they
might with ease prevail on Aiakides' great heart. So they came to the
huts and ships of the Myrmidons, and found their king taking his
pleasure of a loud lyre, fair, of curious work, with a silver cross-bar
upon it. Therein he was delighting his soul, and singing the glories of
heroes. And over against him sate Patroklos alone in silence, watching
till Aiakides should cease from singing. So the twain came forward, and
noble Odysseus led the way, and they stood before his face; and Achilles
sprang up amazed with the lyre in his hand, and left the seat where he
was sitting, and in like manner Patroklos when he beheld the men arose.
Then Achilles fleet of foot greeted them and said: "Welcome; verily ye
are friends that are come--sore indeed is the need--even ye that are
dearest of the Achaians to me even in my wrath."

So spake noble Achilles and led them forward, and made them sit on
settles and carpets of purple; and anon he spake to Patroklos being
near: "Bring forth a greater bowl, thou son of Menoitios; mingle
stronger drink, and prepare each man a cup, for dearest of men are these
that are under my roof."

Then put they forth their hands to the good cheer lying before them. And
when they had put from them the desire of meat and drink, Aias nodded to
Phoinix. But noble Odysseus marked it, and filled a cup with wine and
pledged Achilles: "Hail, O Achilles! The fair feast lack we not either
in the hut of Agamemnon son of Atreus neither now in thine; for feasting
is there abundance to our heart's desire, but our thought is not for
matters of the delicious feast; nay, we behold very sore destruction,
thou fosterling of Zeus, and are afraid. Now is it in doubt whether we
save the benched ships or behold them perish, if thou put not on thy
might. Nigh unto ships and wall have the high-hearted Trojans and famed
allies pitched their camp, and kindled many fires throughout their host,
and ween that they shall no more be withheld but will fall on our black
ships. And Zeus son of Kronos sheweth them signs upon the right by
lightning, and Hector greatly exulteth in his might and rageth
furiously, trusting in Zeus, and recketh not of god nor man, for mighty
madness hath possessed him. He prayeth bright Dawn to shine forth with
all speed, for he bath passed his word to smite off from the ships the
ensigns' tops, and to fire the hulls with devouring flame, and hard
thereby to make havoc of the Achaians confounded by the smoke. Therefore
am I sore afraid in my heart lest the gods fulfil his boastings, and it
be fated for us to perish here in Troy-land, far from Argos pasture-land
of horses. Up then! if thou art minded even at the last to save the
failing sons of the Achaians from the war-din of the Trojans. Eschew thy
grievous wrath; Agamemnon offereth thee worthy gifts, so thou wilt cease
from anger. Lo now, hearken thou to me, and I will tell thee all the
gifts that in his hut Agamemnon promised thee. But if Agamemnon be too
hateful to thy heart, both he and his gifts, yet have thou pity on all
the Achaians that faint throughout the host; these shall honour thee as
a god, for verily thou wilt earn exceeding great glory at their hands.
Yea now mightest thou slay Hector, for he would come very near thee in
his deadly madness, because he deemeth that there is no man like unto
him among the Danaans that the ships brought hither."

And Achilles fleet of foot answered and said unto him: "Heaven-sprung
son of Laertes, Odysseus of many wiles, in openness must I now declare
unto you my saying, even as I am minded and as the fulfilment thereof
shall be, that ye may not sit before me and coax this way and that. For
hateful to me even as the gates of hell is he that hideth one thing in
his heart and uttereth another: but I will speak what meseemeth best.
Not me, I ween, shall Agamemnon son of Atreus persuade, nor the other
Danaans, seeing we were to have no thank for battling with the foemen
ever without respite. He that abideth at home hath equal share with him
that fighteth his best, and in like honour are held both the coward and
the brave; death cometh alike to the untoiling and to him that hath
toiled long. Neither have I any profit for that I endured tribulation of
soul, ever staking my life in fight. Even as a hen bringeth her
unfledged chickens each morsel as she winneth it, and with herself it
goeth hard, even so I was wont to watch out many a sleepless night and
pass through many bloody days of battle, warring with folk for their
women's sake. Twelve cities of men have I laid waste from ship-board,
and from land eleven, throughout deep-soiled Troy-land; out of all these
took I many goodly treasures and would bring and give them all to
Agamemnon son of Atreus, and he staying behind amid the fleet ships
would take them and portion out some few but keep the most. Now some he
gave to be meeds of honour to the princes and the kings, and theirs are
left untouched; only from me of all the Achaians took he my darling lady
and keepeth her. But why must the Argives make war on the Trojans? why
hath Atreides gathered his host and led them hither? is it not for
lovely-haired Helen's sake? Do then the sons of Atreus alone of mortal
men love their wives? surely whatsoever man is good and sound of mind
loveth his own and cherisheth her, even as I too loved mine with all my
heart, though but the captive of my spear. But now that he hath taken my
meed of honour from mine arms and hath deceived me, let him not tempt me
that know him full well; he shall not prevail. Nay, Odysseus, let him
take counsel with thee and all the princes to ward from the ships the
consuming fire. Verily without mine aid he hath wrought many things, and
built a wall and dug a foss about it wide and deep, and set a palisade
therein; yet even so can he not stay murderous Hector's might. But so
long as I was fighting amid the Achaians, Hector had no mind to array
his battle far from the wall, but scarce came unto the Skaian gates and
to the oak-tree; there once he awaited me alone and scarce escaped my
onset. But now, seeing I have no mind to fight with noble Hector, I will
to-morrow do sacrifice to Zeus and all the gods, and store well my ships
when I have launched them on the salt sea--then shalt thou see, if thou
wilt and hast any care therefor, my ships sailing at break of day over
Hellespont, the fishes' home, and my men right eager at the oar; and if
the great Shaker of the Earth grant me good journey, on the third day
should I reach deep-soiled Phthia. There are my great possessions that I
left when I came hither to my hurt; and yet more gold and ruddy bronze
shall I bring from hence, and fair-girdled women and grey iron, all at
least that were mine by lot; only my meed of honour hath he that gave it
me taken back in his despitefulness, even lord Agamemnon son of Atreus.
To him declare ye everything even as I charge you, openly, that all the
Achaians likewise may have indignation, if haply he hopeth to beguile
yet some other Danaan, for that he is ever clothed in shamelessness.
Verily not in my face would he dare to look, though he have the front of
a dog. Neither will I devise counsel with him nor any enterprise, for
utterly he hath deceived me and done wickedly; but never again shall he
beguile me with fair speech--let this suffice him. Let him begone in
peace; Zeus the lord of counsel hath taken away his wits. Hateful to me
are his gifts, and I hold him at a straw's worth. Not even if he gave me
ten times, yea twenty, all that now is his, and all that may come to him
otherwhence, even all the revenue of Orchomenos or Egyptian Thebes where
the treasure-houses are stored fullest--Thebes of the hundred gates,
whence sally forth two hundred warriors through each with horses and
chariots--nay, nor gifts in number as sand or dust; not even so shall
Agamemnon persuade my soul till he have paid me back all the bitter
despite. And the daughter of Agamemnon son of Atreus will I not wed, not
were she rival of golden Aphrodite for fairness and for handiwork
matched bright-eyed Athene--not even then will I wed her; let him choose
him of the Achaians another that is his peer and is more royal than I.
For if the gods indeed preserve me and I come unto my home, then will
Peleus himself seek me a wife. Many Achaian maidens are there throughout
Hellas and Phthia, daughters of princes that ward their cities;
whomsoever of these I wish will I make my dear lady. Very often was my
high soul moved to take me there a wedded wife, a help meet for me, and
have joy of the possessions that the old man Peleus possesseth. For not
of like worth with life hold I even all the wealth that men say was
possessed of the well-peopled city of Ilios in days of peace gone by,
before the sons of the Achaians came; neither all the treasure that the
stone threshold of the archer Phoebus Apollo encompasseth in rocky
Pytho. For kine and goodly flocks are to be had for the harrying, and
tripods and chestnut horses for the purchasing; but to bring back man's
life neither harrying nor earning availeth when once it hath passed the
barrier of his lips. For thus my goddess mother telleth me, Thetis the
silver-footed, that twain fates are bearing me to the issue of death. If
I abide here and besiege the Trojans' city, then my returning home is
taken from me, but my fame shall be imperishable; but if I go home to my
dear native land, my high fame is taken from me, but my life shall
endure long while, neither shall the issue of death soon reach me.
Moreover I would counsel you all to set sail homeward, seeing ye shall
never reach your goal of steep Ilios; of a surety far-seeing Zeus
holdeth his hand over her and her folk are of good courage. So go your
way and tell my answer to the princes of the Achaians, even as is the
office of elders, that they may devise in their hearts some other better
counsel, such as shall save them their ships and the host of the
Achaians amid the hollow ships: since this counsel availeth them naught
that they have now devised, by reason of my fierce wrath. But let
Phoinix now abide with us and lay him to rest, that he may follow with
me on my ships to our dear native land to-morrow, if he will; for I will
not take him perforce."

So spake he, and they all held their peace and were still, and marvelled
at his saying; for he denied them very vehemently. But at the last spake
to them the old knight Phoinix, bursting into tears, because he was sore
afraid for the ships of the Achaians: "If indeed thou ponderest
departure in thy heart, glorious Achilles, and hast no mind at all to
save the fleet ships from consuming fire, because that wrath bath
entered into thy heart; how can I be left of thee, dear son, alone
thereafter? To thee did the old knight Peleus send me the day he sent
thee to Agamemnon forth from Phthia, a stripling yet unskilled in equal
war and in debate wherein men wax pre-eminent. Therefore sent he me to
teach thee all these things, to be both a speaker of words and a doer of
deeds. Yea, I reared thee to this greatness, thou godlike Achilles, with
my heart's love; for with none other wouldest thou go unto the feast,
neither take meat in the hall, till that I had set thee upon my knees
and stayed thee with the savoury morsel cut first for thee, and put the
wine-cup to thy lips. Oft hast thou stained the doublet on my breast
with sputtering of wine in thy sorry helplessness. Thus I suffered much
with thee, and much I toiled, being mindful that the gods in nowise
created any issue of my body; but I made thee my son, thou godlike
Achilles, that thou mayest yet save me from grievous destruction.
Therefore, Achilles, rule thy high spirit; neither beseemeth it thee to
have a ruthless heart. Nay, even the very gods can bend, and theirs
withal is loftier majesty and honour and might. Nay, come for the gifts;
the Achaians shall honour thee even as a god. But if without gifts thou
enter into battle the bane of men, thou wilt not be held in like honour,
even though thou avert the fray."

And Achilles fleet of foot made answer and said to him: "Phoinix my
father, thou old man fosterling of Zeus, such honour need I in no wise;
for I deem that I have been honoured by the judgment of Zeus, which
shall abide upon me amid my beaked ships as long as breath tarrieth in
my body and my limbs are strong. Moreover I will say this thing to thee
and lay thou it to thine heart; trouble not my soul by weeping and
lamentation, to do the pleasure of warrior Atreides; neither beseemeth
it thee to cherish him, lest thou be hated of me that cherish thee. It
were good that thou with me shouldest vex him that vexeth me. Be thou
king even as I, and share my sway by halves, but these shall bear my
message. So tarry thou here and lay thee to rest in a soft bed, and with
break of day will we consider whether to depart unto our own, or to
abide."

He spake, and nodded his brow in silence unto Patroklos to spread for
Phoinix a thick couch, that the others might bethink them to depart from
the hut with speed. Then spake to them Aias, Telamon's godlike son, and
said: "Heaven-sprung son of Laertes, Odysseus of many wiles, let us go
hence; for methinks the purpose of our charge will not by this journey
be accomplished; and we must tell the news, though it be no wise good,
with all speed unto the Danaans, that now sit awaiting. But Achilles
hath wrought his proud soul to fury within him--stubborn man, that
recketh naught of his comrades' love, wherein we worshipped him beyond
all men amid the ships--unmerciful! Yet doth a man accept recompense of
his brother's murderer or for his dead son; and so the man-slayer for a
great price abideth in his own land, and the kinsman's heart is
appeased, and his proud soul, when he hath taken the recompense. But for
thee, the gods have put within thy breast a spirit implacable and evil,
by reason of one single damsel. And now we offer thee seven damsels, far
best of all, and many other gifts besides; entertain thou then a kindly
spirit, and have respect unto thine home; because we are guests of thy
roof, sent of the multitude of Danaans, and we would fain be nearest to
thee and dearest beyond all other Achaians, as many as there be."

And Achilles fleet of foot made answer and said to him: "Aias sprung of
Zeus, thou son of Telamon, prince of the folk, thou seemest to speak all
this almost after mine own mind; but my heart swelleth with wrath as oft
as I bethink me of those things, how Atreides entreated me arrogantly
among the Argives, as though I were some worthless sojourner. But go ye
and declare my message; I will not take thought of bloody war until that
wise Priam's son, noble Hector, come to the Myrmidons' huts and ships,
slaying the Argives, and smirch the ships with fire. But about mine hut
and black ship I ween that Hector, though he be very eager for battle,
shall be refrained."

So said he, and they took each man a two-handled cup, and made libation
and went back along the line of ships; and Odysseus led the way. And
Patroklos bade his fellows and handmaidens spread with all speed a thick
couch for Phoinix; and they obeyed and spread a couch as he ordained,
fleeces and rugs and fine flock of linen. Then the old man laid him down
and tarried for bright Dawn.

Now when those were come unto Atreides' huts, the sons of the Achaians
stood up on this side and on that, and pledged them in cups of gold, and
questioned them; and Agamemnon king of men asked them first: "Come now,
tell me, Odysseus full of praise, thou great glory of the Achaians; will
he save the ships from consuming fire, or said he nay, and hath wrath
yet hold of his proud spirit?"

And steadfast goodly Odysseus answered him: "Most noble son of Atreus,
Agamemnon king of men, he yonder hath no mind to quench his wrath, but
is yet more filled of fury, and spurneth thee and thy gifts. He biddeth
thee take counsel for thyself amid the Argives, how to save the ships
and folk of the Achaians. And for himself he threateneth that at break
of day he will launch upon the sea his trim well-benched ships. Moreover
he said that he would counsel all to sail for home, because ye now shall
never reach your goal of steep Ilios; surely far-seeing Zeus holdeth his
hand over her and her folk are of good courage. Even so said he, and
here are also these to tell the tale that were my companions, Aias and
the two heralds, both men discreet. But the old man Phoinix laid him
there to rest, even as Achilles bade him, that he may follow with him on
his ships to his dear native land to-morrow, if he will; for he will not
take him perforce."

So said he, and they all held their peace and were still, marvelling at
his saying, for he harangued very vehemently. Long were the sons of the
Achaians voiceless for grief, but at the last Diomedes of the loud
war-cry spake amid them: "Most noble son of Atreus, Agamemnon king of
men, would thou hadst never besought Peleus' glorious son with offer of
gifts innumerable; proud is he at any time, but now hast thou yet far
more encouraged him in his haughtiness. Howbeit we will let him bide,
whether he go or tarry; hereafter he shall fight, whenever his heart
within him biddeth and god arouseth him. Come now, even as I shall say
let us all obey. Go ye now to rest, full to your hearts' desire of meat
and wine, wherein courage is and strength; but when fair rosy-fingered
Dawn appeareth, array thou with all speed before the ships thy folk and
horsemen, and urge them on; and fight thyself amid the foremost."

So said he, and all the princes gave assent, applauding the saying of
Diomedes tamer of horses. And then they made libation and went every man
to his hut, and there laid them to rest and took the boon of sleep.

BOOK X.

How Diomedes and Odysseus slew Dolon, a spy of the Trojans,
and themselves spied on the Trojan camp, and took the horses
of Rhesos, the Thracian king.

Now beside the ships the other leaders of the whole Achaian host were
sleeping all night long, by soft Sleep overcome, but Agamemnon son of
Atreus, shepherd of the host, sweet Sleep held not, so many things he
debated in his mind. And even as when the lord of fair-tressed Hera
lighteneth, fashioning either a mighty rain unspeakable, or hail, or
snow, when the flakes sprinkle all the ploughed lands, or fashioning
perchance the wide mouth of bitter war, even so oft in his breast
groaned Agamemnon, from the very deep of his heart, and his spirits
trembled within him. And whensoever he looked toward that Trojan plain,
he marvelled at the many fires that blazed in front of Ilios, and at the
sound of flutes and pipes, and the noise of men; but whensoever to the
ships he glanced and the host of the Achaians, then rent he many a lock
clean forth from his head, to Zeus that is above, and greatly groaned
his noble heart.

And this in his soul seemed to him the best counsel, to go first of all
to Nestor son of Neleus, if perchance he might contrive with him some
right device that should be for the warding off of evil from all the
Danaans.

Then he rose, and did on his doublet about his breast, and beneath his
shining feet he bound on fair sandals, and thereafter clad him in the
tawny skin of a lion fiery and great, a skin that reached to the feet,
and he grasped his spear.

And even in like wise did trembling fear take hold on Menelaos, (for
neither on his eyelids did Sleep settle down,) lest somewhat should
befall the Argives, who verily for his sake over wide waters were come
to Troy-land, with fierce war in their thoughts.

With a dappled pard's akin first he covered his broad shoulders, and he
raised and set on his head a casque of bronze, and took a spear in his
strong hand. Then went he on his way to rouse his brother, that mightily
ruled over all the Argives, and as a god was honoured by the people. Him
found he harnessing his goodly gear about his shoulders, by the stern of
the ship, and glad to his brother was his coming. Then Menelaos of the
loud war-cry first accosted him: "Wherefore thus, dear brother, art thou
arming? Wilt thou speed forth any of thy comrades to spy on the Trojans?
Nay, terribly I fear lest none should undertake for thee this deed, even
to go and spy out the foeman alone through the ambrosial night; needs
must he be a man right hardy of heart."

Then the lord Agamemnon answered him and spake: "Need of good counsel
have I and thou, Menelaos fosterling of Zeus, of counsel that will help
and save the Argives and the ships, since the heart of Zeus hath turned
again. Surely on the sacrifices of Hector hath he set his heart rather
than on ours. For never did I see, nor heard any tell, that one man
devised so many terrible deeds in one day, as Hector, dear to Zeus, hath
wrought on the sons of the Achaians, unaided; though no dear son of a
goddess is he, nor of a god. He hath done deeds that methinks will be a
sorrow to the Argives, lasting and long, such evils hath he devised
against the Achaians. But go now, run swiftly by the ships, and summon
Aias and Idomeneus, but I will betake me to noble Nestor, and bid him
arise, if perchance he will be fain to go to the sacred company of the
sentinels and lay on them his command. For to him above others would
they listen, for his own son is chief among the sentinels, he and the
brother in arms of Idomeneus, even Meriones, for to them above all we
entrusted this charge."

Then Menelaos of the loud war-cry answered him: "How meanest thou this
word wherewith thou dost command and exhort me? Am I to abide there with
them, waiting till thou comest, or run back again to thee when I have
well delivered to them thy commandment?"

Then the king of men, Agamemnon, answered him again: "There do thou
abide lest we miss each other as we go, for many are the paths through
the camp. But call aloud, wheresoever thou goest, and bid men awake,
naming each man by his lineage, and his father's name, and giving all
their dues of honour, nor be thou proud of heart. Nay rather let us
ourselves be labouring, for even thus did Zeus from our very birth
dispense to us the heaviness of toil."

So he spake, and sent his brother away, having clearly laid on him his
commandment. Then went he himself after Nestor, the shepherd of the
host, whom he found by his hut and black ship, in his soft bed: beside
him lay his arms, a shield, and two spears, and a shining helmet. Beside
him lay his glittering girdle wherewith the old man was wont to gird
himself when he harnessed him for war, the bane of men, and led on the
host, for he yielded not to grievous old age. Then he raised him on his
elbow, lifting his head, and spake to the son of Atreus, inquiring of
him with this word: "Who art thou that farest alone by the ships,
through the camp in the dark night, when other mortals are sleeping?
Seekest thou one of thy mules, or of thy comrades? speak, and come not
silently upon me. What need hast thou?"

Then the king of men, Agamemnon, answered him: "O Nestor, son of Neleus,
great glory of the Achaians, thou shalt know Agamemnon, son of Atreus,
whom above all men Zeus hath planted for ever among labours, while my
breath abides within my breast, and my knees move. I wander thus, for
that sweet sleep rests not on mine eyes, but war is my care, and the
troubles of the Achaians. Yea, greatly I fear for the sake of the
Danaans, nor is my heart firm, but I am tossed to and fro, and my heart
is leaping from my breast, and my good knees tremble beneath me. But if
thou wilt do aught, since neither on thee cometh sleep, let us go
thither to the sentinels, that we may see them, lest they be fordone
with toil, and so are slumbering, and have quite forgotten to keep
watch. And hostile men camp hard by, nor know we at all but that they
are keen to do battle in the night."

Then knightly Nestor of Gerenia answered him: "Verily will I follow
after thee, but let us also rouse others again, both the son of Tydeus,
spearman renowned, and Odysseus, and swift Aias, and the strong son of
Phyleus. But well it would be if one were to go and call those also, the
godlike Aias, and Idomeneus the prince; for their ships are furthest of
all, and nowise close at hand. But Menelaos will I blame, dear as he is
and worshipful, yea, even if thou be angry with me, nor will I hide my
thought, for that he slumbereth, and to thee alone hath left the toil;
now should he be toiling among all the chiefs and beseeching them, for
need no longer tolerable is coming upon us."

And the king of men, Agamemnon, answered him again: "Old man, another
day I even bid thee blame him, for often is he slack, and willeth not
to labour, yielding neither to unreadiness nor heedlessness of heart,
but looking toward me, and expecting mine instance. But now he awoke
far before me, and came to me, and him I sent forward to call those
concerning whom thou inquirest. But let us be gone, and them shall
we find before the gates, among the sentinels, for there I bade them
gather."

Then knightly Nestor of Gerenia answered him: "So will none of the
Argives be wroth with him or disobey him, when soever he doth urge any
one, and give him his commands."

So spake he, and did on his doublet about his breast, and beneath his
bright feet he bound goodly shoon, and all around him buckled a purple
cloak, with double folds and wide, and thick down all over it.

And he took a strong spear, pointed with sharp bronze, and he went among
the ships of the mail-clad Achaians. Then Odysseus first, the peer of
Zeus in counsel, did knightly Gerenian Nestor arouse out of sleep, with
his voice, and quickly the cry came all about his heart, and he came
forth from the hut and spake to them saying: "Wherefore thus among the
ships and through the camp do ye wander alone, in the ambrosial night;
what so great need cometh upon you?"

Then knightly Nestor of Gerenia answered him: "Laertes' son, be not
wroth, for great trouble besetteth the Achaians. Nay follow, that we may
arouse others too, even all that it behoveth to take counsel, whether we
should fly, or fight."

So spake he, and Odysseus of the many counsels came to the hut, and cast
a shield about his shoulders, and went after them.

And they went to seek Diomedes, son of Tydeus, and him they found
outside his hut, with his arms, and around him his comrades were
sleeping with their shields beneath their heads, but their spears were
driven into the ground erect on the spikes of the butts, and afar shone
the bronze, like the lightning of father Zeus. Now that hero was asleep,
and under him was strewn the hide of an ox of the field, but beneath his
head was stretched a shining carpet. Beside him went and stood knightly
Nestor of Gerenia and stirred him with a touch of his foot, and aroused
him, chiding him to his face, saying: "Wake, son of Tydeus, why all
night long dost thou sleep? Knowest thou not that the Trojans on the
high place of the plain are camped near the ships, and but a little
space holdeth them apart?"

So spake he, and Diomedes sprang swiftly up out of sleep, and spake to
him winged words: "Hard art thou, old man, and from toil thou never
ceasest. Now are there not other younger sons of the Achaians, who might
rouse when there is need each of the kings, going all around the host?
but thou, old man, art indomitable."

And him knightly Nestor of Gerenia answered again, "Nay verily, my son,
all this that thou sayest is according unto right. Noble sons have I,
and there be many of the host, of whom each man might go and call the
others. But a right great need hath assailed the Achaians. For now to
all of us it standeth on a razor's edge, either pitiful ruin for the
Achaians, or life. But come now, if indeed thou dost pity me, rouse
swift Aias, and the son of Phyleus, for thou art younger than I."

So spake he, and Diomedes cast round his shoulders the skin of a great
fiery lion, that reached to his feet, and he grasped his spear, and
started on his way, and roused the others from their place and led them
on.

Now when they had come among the assembled sentinels, they found not the
leaders of the sentinels asleep, but they all sat wide awake with their
arms. And even as hounds keep difficult guard round the sheep in a fold,
having heard a hardy wild beast that cometh through the wood among the
hills, and much clamour riseth round him of hounds and men, and sleep
perisheth from them, even so sweet sleep did perish from their eyes, as
they watched through the wicked night, for ever were they turning toward
the plains, when they heard the Trojans moving.

And that old man was glad when he saw them, and heartened them with his
saying, and calling out to them he spake winged words: "Even so now,
dear children, do ye keep watch, nor let sleep take any man, lest we
become a cause of rejoicing to them that hate us."

So saying he sped through the moat, and they followed with him, the
kings of the Argives, who had been called to the council. And with them
went Meriones, and the glorious son of Nestor, for they called them to
share their counsel. So they went clean out of the delved foss, and sat
down in the open, where the mid-space was clear of dead men fallen,
where fierce Hector had turned again from destroying the Argives, when
night covered all. There sat they down, and declared their saying each
to the other, and to them knightly Nestor of Gerenia began discourse: "O
friends, is there then no man that would trust to his own daring spirit,
to go among the great-hearted Trojans, if perchance he might take some
straggler of the enemy, yea, or hear perchance some rumour among the
Trojans, and what things they devise among themselves, whether they are
fain to abide there by the ships, away from the city, or will retreat
again to the city, now that they have conquered the Achaians? All this
might such an one learn, and back to us come scathless: great would be
his fame under heaven among all men, and a goodly gift will be given
him. For all the best men that bear sway by the ships, each and all of
them will give him a black ewe, with her lamb at her foot, and ever will
he be present at feasts and clan-drinkings."

So spake he, and thereon were they all silent, holding their peace, but
to them spake Diomedes of the loud war-cry: "Nestor, my heart and manful
spirit urge me to enter the camp of the foemen hard by, even of the
Trojans: and if some other man will follow with me, more comfort and
more courage will there be. If two go together, one before another
perceiveth a matter, how there may be gain therein; but if one alone
perceive aught, even so his wit is shorter, and weak his device."

So spake he, and many were they that wished to follow Diomedes. The two
Aiantes were willing, men of Ares' company, and Meriones was willing,
and right willing the son of Nestor, and the son of Atreus, Menelaos,
spearman renowned, yea and the hardy Odysseus was willing to steal into
the throng of Trojans, for always daring was his heart within him. But
among them spake the king of men, Agamemnon: "Diomedes son of Tydeus,
joy of mine heart, thy comrade verily shalt thou choose, whomsoever thou
wilt, the best of them that be here, for many are eager. But do not
thou, out of reverent heart, leave the better man behind, and give
thyself the worse companion, yielding to regard for any, and looking to
their lineage, even if one be more kingly born."

So spake he, but was in fear for the sake of fair-haired Menelaos. But
to them again answered Diomedes of the loud war-cry: "If indeed ye bid
me choose myself a comrade, how then could I be unmindful of godlike
Odysseus, whose heart is passing eager, and his spirit so manful in all
manner of toils; and Athene loveth him. But while he cometh with me,
even out of burning fire might we both return, for he excelleth in
understanding."

Then him again answered the steadfast noble Odysseus: "Son of Tydeus,
praise me not overmuch, neither blame me aught, for thou speakest thus
among the Argives that themselves know all. But let us be going, for
truly the night is waning, and near is the dawn, and the stars have gone
onward, and the night has advanced more than two watches, but the third
watch is yet left."

So spake they, and harnessed them in their dread armour. To the son of
Tydeus did Thrasymedes steadfast in war give a two-edged sword (for his
own was left by his ship) and a shield, and about his head set a helm of
bull's hide, without cone or crest, that is called a skull-cap, and
keeps the heads of stalwart youths. And Meriones gave Odysseus a bow and
a quiver, and a sword, and on his head set a helm made of leather, and
with many a thong was it stiffly wrought within, while without the white
teeth of a boar of flashing tusks were arrayed thick set on either side,
well and cunningly, and in the midst was fixed a cap of felt.

So when these twain had harnessed them in their dread armour, they set
forth to go, and left there all the best of the host. And to them did
Pallas Athene send forth an omen on the right, a heron hard by the way,
and they beheld it not with their eyes, through the dark night, but they
heard its shrill cry. And Odysseus was glad in the omen of the bird, and
prayed to Athene: "Listen to me, thou child of aegis-bearing Zeus, that
ever in all toils dost stand by me, nor doth any motion of mine escape
thee: but now again above all be thou friendly to me, Athene, and grant
that we come back with renown to the ships, having wrought a great work,
that shall be sorrow to the Trojans."

Next again prayed Diomedes of the loud war-cry: "Listen now likewise to
me, thou child of Zeus, unwearied maiden, and follow with me as when
with my father thou didst follow, even noble Tydeus, into Thebes, when
he went forth as a messenger from the Achaians. Even so now stand thou
by me willingly, and protect me. And to thee will I sacrifice a yearling
heifer, broad of brow, unbroken, that never yet hath man led below the
yoke. Her will I sacrifice to thee, and gild her horns with gold."

So spake they in their prayer, and Pallas Athene heard them. And when
they had prayed to the daughter of mighty Zeus, they went forth on their
way, like two lions, through the dark night, amid the slaughter, amid
the slain men, through the arms and the black blood.

Nay, nor the stout-hearted Trojans did Hector suffer to sleep, but he
called together all the best of them, all that were chiefs and leaders
of the Trojans, them did he call together, and contrived a crafty
counsel: "Who is there that would promise and perform for me this deed,
for a great gift? yea his reward shall be sufficient. For I will give
him a chariot, and two horses of arching neck, the best that be at the
swift ships of the Achaians, to whosoever shall dare the deed, and for
himself shall win glory. And the deed is this; to go near the
swift-faring ships, and seek out whether the swift ships are guarded, as
of old, or whether already, being subdued beneath our hands, the foes
are devising of flight among themselves, and have no care to watch
through the night, being fordone with dread weariness."

So spake he, but they were all silent and held their peace. Now there
was among the Trojans one Dolon, the son of Eumedes the godlike herald,
and he was rich in gold, and rich in bronze: and verily he was ill
favoured to look upon, but swift of foot. So he spake then a word to the
Trojans and to Hector: "Hector, my heart and manful spirit urge me to go
near the swift-faring ships, and spy out all. But come, I pray thee,
hold up the staff, and swear to me, that verily thou wilt give me the
horses and the chariots bedight with bronze that bear the noble son of
Peleus. But to thee I will prove no vain spy, nor disappoint thy hope.
For I will go straight to the camp, until I may come to the ship of
Agamemnon, where surely the chiefs are like to hold council, whether to
fight or flee."

So spake he, and Hector took the staff in his hand, and sware to him:
"Now let Zeus himself be witness, the loud-thundering lord of Hera, that
no other man of the Trojans shall mount those horses, but thou, I
declare, shalt rejoice in them for ever."

So spake he, and sware a bootless oath thereto, and aroused Dolon to go.
And straightway he cast on his shoulders his crooked bow, and did on
thereover the skin of a grey wolf, and on his head a helm of
ferret-skin, and took a sharp javelin, and went on his way to the ships
from the host. But he was not like to come back from the ships and bring
word to Hector.

But when he had left the throng of men and horses, he went forth eagerly
on the way, and Odysseus of the seed of Zeus was ware of him as he
approached, and said unto Diomedes: "Lo, here is some man, Diomedes,
coming from the camp, I know not whether as a spy to our ships, or to
strip certain of the dead men fallen. But let us suffer him to pass by
us a little way on the plain, and thereafter may we rush on him and take
him speedily, and if it chance that he outrun us by speed of foot, ever
do thou hem him in towards the ships and away from the camp, rushing on
him with thy spear, lest in any wise he escape towards the city."

So they spake, and turning out of the path they lay down among the
bodies of the dead; and swiftly Dolon ran past them in his witlessness.
But when he was as far off as is the length of the furrow made by mules,
these twain ran after him, and he stood still when he heard the sound,
supposing in his heart that they were friends come from among the
Trojans to turn him back, at the countermand of Hector. But when they
were about a spear-cast off, or even less, he knew them for foe-men, and
stirred his swift limbs to fly, and speedily they started in pursuit.

And as when two sharp-toothed hounds, well skilled in the chase, press
ever hard on a doe or a hare through a wooded land, and it runs
screaming before them, even so Tydeus' son and Odysseus the sacker of
cities cut Dolon off from the host, and ever pursued hard after him. But
when he was just about to come among the sentinels, in his flight
towards the ships, then Athene poured strength into the son of Tydeus,
that none of the mail-clad Achaians might boast himself the first to
smite, and he come second. And strong Diomedes leaped upon him with the
spear, and said: "Stand, or I shall overtake thee with the spear, and
methinks that thou shalt not long avoid sheer destruction at my hand."

So spake he, and threw his spear, but of his own will he missed the man,
and passing over his right shoulder the point of the polished spear
stuck fast in the ground: and Dolon stood still, in great dread and
trembling, and the teeth chattered in his mouth, and he was green with
fear. Then the twain came up with him, panting, and gripped his hands,
and weeping he spake: "Take me alive, and I will ransom myself, for
within our house there is bronze, and gold, and smithied iron, wherefrom
my father would do you grace with ransom untold, if he should learn that
I am alive among the ships of the Achaians."

Then Odysseus of the many counsels answered him and said: "Take courage,
let not death be in thy mind, but come speak and tell me truly all the
tale, why thus from the host lost thou come all alone among the ships,
through the black night, when other mortals are sleeping? Comest thou to
strip certain of the dead men fallen, or did Hector send thee forth to
spy out everything at the hollow ships, or did thine own spirit urge
thee on?"

Then Dolon answered him, his limbs trembling beneath him: "With many a
blind hope did Hector lead my wits astray, who vowed to give me the
whole-hooved horses of the proud son of Peleus, and his car bedight with
bronze: and he bade me fare through the swift black night, and draw nigh
the foemen, and seek out whether the swift ships are guarded, as of old,
or whether, already, being subdued beneath our hands, they are devising
of flight among themselves, and have no care to watch through the night,
being fordone with dread weariness."

And smiling thereat did Odysseus of the many counsels make him answer:
"Verily now thy soul was set on great rewards, even the horses of the
wise son of Aiakos, but hard are they for mortal men to master, and hard
to drive, for any but Achilles only, whom a deathless mother bare. But
come, tell me all this truly, all the tale: where when thou camest
hither didst thou leave Hector, shepherd of the host, and where lie his
warlike gear, and where his horses? And how are disposed the watches,
and the beds of the other Trojans? And what counsel take they among
themselves; are they fain to abide there nigh the ships afar from the
city, or will they return to the city again, seeing that they have
subdued unto them the Achaiana?"

Then Dolon son of Eumedes made him answer again: "Lo, now all these
things will I recount to thee most truly. Hector with them that are
counsellors holdeth council by the barrow of godlike Ilos, apart from
the din, but as for the guards whereof thou askest, oh hero, no chosen
watch nor guard keepeth the host. As for all the watch fires of the
Trojans--on them is necessity, so that they watch and encourage each
other to keep guard; but, for the allies called from many lands, they
are sleeping and to the Trojans they leave it to keep watch, for no wise
near dwell the children and wives of the allies." Then Odysseus of the
many counsels answered him and said: "How stands it now, do they sleep
amidst the horse-taming Trojans, or apart? tell me clearly, that I may
know."

Then answered him Dolon son of Eumedes: "Verily all this likewise will I
recount to thee truly. Towards the sea lie the Karians, and Paionians of
the bended bow, and the Leleges and Kaukones, and noble Pelasgoi. And
towards Thymbre the Lykians have their place, and the haughty Mysians,
and the Phrygians that fight from chariots, and Maionians lords of
chariots. But wherefore do ye inquire of me throughly concerning all
these things? for if ye desire to steal into the throng of Trojans, lo,
there be those Thracians, new comers, at the furthest point apart from
the rest, and among them their king Rhesos, son of Eioneus. His be the
fairest horses that ever I beheld, and the greatest, whiter than snow,
and for speed like the winds. And his chariot is fashioned well with
gold and silver, and golden is his armour that he brought with him,
marvellous, a wonder to behold; such as it is in no wise fit for mortal
men to bear, but for the deathless gods. But bring me now to the swift
ships, or leave me here, when ye have bound me with a ruthless bond,
that ye may go and make trial of me whether I have spoken to you truth,
or lies."

Then strong Diomedes, looking grimly on him, said: "Put no thought of
escape, Dolon, in thy heart, for all the good tidings thou hast brought,
since once thou halt come into our hands. For if now we release thee or
let thee go, on some later day wilt thou come to the swift ships of the
Achaians, either to play the spy, or to fight in open war, but if
subdued beneath my hands thou lose thy life, never again wilt thou prove
a bane to the Argives."

He spake, and that other with strong hand was about to touch his chin,
and implore his mercy, but Diomedes smote him on the midst of the neck,
rushing on him with the sword, and cut through both the sinews, and the
head of him still speaking was mingled with the dust. And they stripped
him of the casque of ferret's skin from off his head, and of his
wolf-skin, and his bended bow, and his long spear, and these to Athene
the Giver of Spoil did noble Odysseus hold aloft in his hand, and he
prayed and spake a word: "Rejoice, O goddess, in these, for to thee
first of all the immortals in Olympus will we call for aid; nay, but yet
again send us on against the horses and the sleeping places of the
Thracian men."

So spake he aloud, and lifted from him the spoils on high, and set them
on a tamarisk bush, and raised thereon a mark right plain to see,
gathering together reeds, and luxuriant shoots of tamarisk, lest they
should miss the place as they returned again through the swift dark
night.

So the twain went forward through the arms, and the black blood, and
quickly they came to the company of Thracian men. Now they were
slumbering, fordone with toil, but their goodly weapons lay by them on
the ground, all orderly, in three rows, and by each man his pair of
steeds. And Rhesos slept in the midst, and beside him his swift horses
were bound with thongs to the topmost rim of the chariot. Him Odysseus
spied from afar, and showed him unto Diomedes: "Lo, Diomedes, this is
the man, and these are the horses whereof Dolon that we slew did give us
tidings. But come now, put forth thy great strength; it doth not behove
thee to stand idle with thy weapons: nay, loose the horses; or do thou
slay the men, and of the horses will I take heed."

So spake he, and into that other bright-eyed Athene breathed might, and
he began slaying on this side and on that, and hideously went up their
groaning, as they were smitten with the sword, and the earth was
reddened with blood. And like as a lion cometh on flocks without a
herdsman, on goats or sheep, and leaps upon them with evil will, so set
the son of Tydeus on the men of Thrace, till he had slain twelve. But
whomsoever the son of Tydeus drew near and smote with the sword, him did
Odysseus of the many counsels seize by the foot from behind, and drag
him out of the way, with this design in his heart, that the fair-maned
horses might lightly issue forth, and not tremble in spirit, when they
trod over the dead; for they were not yet used to dead men. But when the
son of Tydeus came upon the king, he was the thirteenth from whom he
took sweet life away, as he was breathing hard, for an evil dream stood
above his head that night through the device of Athens. Meanwhile the
hardy Odysseus loosed the whole-hooved horses, and bound them together
with thongs, and drave them out of the press, smiting them with his bow,
since he had not taken thought to lift the shining whip with his hands
from the chariot; then he whistled for a sign to noble Diomedes.

But Diomedes stood and pondered what most daring deed he might do,
whether he should take the chariot, where lay the armour, and drag it
out by the pole, or lift it upon high, and so bear it forth, or whether
he should take the life away from yet more of the Thracians. And while
he was pondering this in his heart, then Athene drew near, and stood,
and spake to noble Diomedes: "Bethink thee of returning, O son of
great-hearted Tydeus, to the hollow ships, lest perchance thou come
thither in flight, and perchance another god rouse up the Trojans
likewise."

So spake she, and he observed the voice of the utterance of the goddess,
and swiftly he sprang upon the steeds, and Odysseus smote them with his
bow, and they sped to the swift ships of the Achaians.

Nay, nor a vain watch kept Apollo of the silver bow, when he beheld
Athene caring for the son of Tydeus; in wrath against her he stole among
the crowded press of Trojans, and aroused a counsellor of the Thracians,
Hippokoon, the noble kinsman of Rhesos. And he started out of sleep,
when he beheld the place desolate where the swift horses had stood, and
beheld the men gasping in the death struggle; then he groaned aloud, and
called out by name to his comrade dear. And a clamour arose and din
unspeakable of the Trojans hasting together, and they marvelled at the
terrible deeds, even all that the heroes had wrought, and had gone
thereafter to the hollow ships.

But when those others came to the place where they had slain the spy of
Hector, there Odysseus, dear to Zeus, checked the swift horses, and
Tydeus' son, leaping to the ground, set the bloody spoil in the hands of
Odysseus, and again mounted, and lashed the horses, and they sped onward
nothing loth. But Nestor first heard the sound, and said: "O friends,
leaders and counsellors of the Argives, shall I be wrong or speak sooth?
for my heart bids me speak. The sound of swift-footed horses strikes
upon mine ears. Would to god that Odysseus and that strong Diomedes may
even instantly be driving the whole-hooved horses from among the
Trojans; but terribly I fear in mine heart lest the bravest of the
Argives suffer aught through the Trojans' battle din."

Not yet was his whole word spoken, when they came themselves, and leaped
down to earth, but gladly the others welcomed them with hand-clasping,
and with honeyed words. And first did knightly Nestor of Gerenia make
question: "Come, tell me now, renowned Odysseus, great glory of the
Achaians, how ye twain took those horses? Was it by stealing into the
press of Trojans? Or did some god meet you, and give you them? Wondrous
like are they to rays of the sun. Ever with the Trojans do I mix in
fight, nor methinks do I tarry by the ships, old warrior as I am. But
never yet saw I such horses, nor deemed of such. Nay, methinks some god
must have encountered you and given you these. For both of you doth Zeus
the cloud-gatherer love, and the maiden of aegis-bearing Zeus,
bright-eyed Athene."

And him answered Odysseus of the many counsels: "O Nestor, son of
Neleus, great glory of the Achaians, lightly could a god, if so he
would, give even better steeds than these, for the gods are far stronger
than we. But as for these new-come horses, whereof, old man, thou askest
me, they are Thracian, but their lord did brave Diomedes slay, and
beside him all the twelve best men of his company. The thirteenth man
was a spy we took near the ships, one that Hector and the other haughty
Trojans sent forth to pry upon our camp."

So spake he, and drave the whole-hooved horses through the foss,
laughing; and the other Achaians went with him joyfully. But when they
had come to the well-built hut of the son of Tydeus, they bound the
horses with well-cut thongs, at the mangers where the swift horses of
Diomedes stood eating honey-sweet barley.

And Odysseus placed the bloody spoils of Dolon in the stern of the ship,
that they might make ready a sacred offering to Athene. But for
themselves, they went into the sea, and washed off the thick sweat from
shins, and neck, and thighs. But when the wave of the sea had washed the
thick sweat from their skin, and their hearts revived again, they went
into polished baths, and were cleansed.

And when they had washed, and anointed them with olive oil, they sat
down at supper, and from the full mixing bowl they drew off the
honey-sweet wine, and poured it forth to Athene.

BOOK XI.

Despite the glorious deeds of Agamemnon, the Trojans press
hard on the Achaians, and the beginning of evil comes on
Patroklos.

Now Dawn arose from her couch beside proud Tithonos, to bring light to
the immortals and to mortal men. But Zeus sent forth fierce Discord unto
the fleet ships of the Achaians, and in her hands she held the signal of
war. And she stood upon the huge black ship of Odysseus, that was in the
midst, to make her voice heard on either side, both to the huts of Aias,
son of Telamon, and to the huts of Achilles, for these twain, trusting
in their valour and the might of their hands, had drawn up their trim
ships at the two ends of the line. There stood the goddess and cried
shrilly in a great voice and terrible, and mighty strength she set in
the heart of each of the Achaians, to war and fight unceasingly. And
straightway to them war grew sweeter than to depart in the hollow ships
to their dear native land.

Then each man gave in charge his horses to his charioteer, to hold them
in by the foss, well and orderly, and themselves as heavy men at arms
were hasting about, being harnessed in their gear, and unquenchable the
cry arose into the Dawn. And long before the charioteers were they
arrayed at the foss, but after them a little way came up the drivers.
And among them the son of Kronos aroused an evil din, and from above
rained down dew danked with blood out of the upper air, for that he was
about to send many strong men down to Hades.

But the Trojans on the other side, on the high ground of the plain,
gathered them around great Hector, and noble Polydamus, and Aineias that
as a god was honoured by the people of the Trojans, and the three sons
of Antenor, Polybos, and noble Agenor, and young Akamas like unto the
immortals. And Hector in the foremost rank bare the circle of his
shield. And as from amid the clouds appeareth glittering a baneful star,
and then again sinketh within the shadowy clouds, even so Hector would
now appear among the foremost ranks, and again would be giving command
in the rear, and all in bronze he shone, like the lightning of
aegis-bearing father Zeus.

And even as when reapers over against each other drive their swaths
through a rich man's field of wheat or barley, and thick fall the
handfuls, even so the Trojans and Achaians leaped upon each other,
destroying, and neither side took thought of ruinous flight; and equal
heads had the battle, and they rushed on like wolves. And woful Discord
was glad at the sight, for she alone of the gods was with them in the
war; for the other gods were not beside them, but in peace they sat
within their halls, where the goodly mansion of each was builded in the
folds of Olympus. And they all were blaming the son of Kronos, lord of
the storm-cloud, for that he willed to give glory to the Trojans. But of
them took the father no heed, but aloof from the others he sat apart,
glad in his glory, looking toward the city of the Trojans, and the ships
of the Achaians, and the glitter of bronze, and the slayers and the
slain.

So long as morning was, and the sacred day still waxed, so long did the
shafts of both hosts strike, and the folk fell, but about the hour when
a woodman maketh ready his meal, in the dells of a mountain, when he
hath tired his hands with felling tall trees, and weariness cometh on
his soul, and desire of sweet food taketh his heart, even then the
Danaans by their valour brake the battalions, and called on their
comrades through the lines. And in rushed Agamemnon first of all, where
thickest clashed the battalions, there he set on, and with him all the
well-greaved Achaians. Footmen kept slaying footmen as they were driven
in flight, and horsemen slaying horsemen with the sword, and from
beneath them rose up the dust from the plain, stirred by the thundering
hooves of horses. And the lord Agamemnon, ever slaying, followed after,
calling on the Argives. And as when ruinous fire falleth on dense
woodland, and the whirling wind beareth it everywhere, and the thickets
fall utterly before it, being smitten by the onset of the fire, even so
beneath Agamemnon son of Atreus fell the heads of the Trojans as they
fled; and many strong-necked horses rattled empty cars along the
highways of the battle, lacking their noble charioteers; but they on the
earth were lying, far more dear to the vultures than to their wives. But
Hector did Zeus draw forth from the darts and the dust, from the
man-slaying, and the blood, and the din, and the son of Atreus followed
on, crying eagerly to the Danaans. And past the tomb of ancient Ilos,
son of Dardanos, across the mid plain, past the place of the wild
fig-tree they sped, making for the city, and ever the son of Atreus
followed shouting, and his invincible hands were defiled with gore. But
when they were come to the Skaian gates, and the oak-tree, there then
they halted, and awaited each other. But some were still in full flight
through the mid plain, like kine that a lion hath scattered, coming on
them in the dead of night; all hath he scattered, but to one sheer death
appeareth instantly, and he breaketh her neck first, seizing her with
strong teeth, and thereafter swalloweth greedily the blood and all the
guts; even so lord Agamemnon son of Atreus followed hard on the Trojans,
ever slaying the hindmost man, and they were scattered in flight, and on
face or back many of them fell from their chariots beneath the hands of
Agamemnon, for mightily he raged with the spear. But when he was
nowabout coming below the city, and the steep wall, then did the father
of men and gods sit him down on the crests of many-fountained Ida, from
heaven descending, with the thunderbolt in his hands.

Then sent he forth Iris of the golden wings, to bear his word: "Up and
go, swift Iris, and tell this word unto Hector: So long as he sees
Agamemnon, shepherd of the host, raging among the foremost fighters, and
ruining the ranks of men, so long let him hold back, but bid the rest of
the host war with the foe in strong battle. But when, or smitten with
the spear or wounded with arrow shot, Agamemnon leapeth into his
chariot, then will I give Hector strength to slay till he come even to
the well-timbered ships, and the sun go down, and sacred darkness draw
on."

So swift-footed Iris spake to Hector the words of Zeus and departed, but
Hector with his harness leaped from the chariot to the ground, and,
shaking his sharp spears went through all the host, stirring up his men
to fight, and he roused the dread din of battle. And they wheeled round,
and stood and faced the Achaians, while the Argives on the other side
strengthened their battalions. And battle was made ready, and they stood
over against each other, and Agamemnon first rushed in, being eager to
fight far in front of all.

Tell me now, ye Muses that inhabit mansions in Olympus, who was he that
first encountered Agamemnon, whether of the Trojans themselves, or of
their allies renowned? It was Iphidamas, son of Antenor, great and
mighty, who was nurtured in Thrace rich of soil, the mother of sheep; he
it was that then encountered Agamemnon son of Atreus. And when they were
come near in onset against each other, Atreus' son missed, and his spear
was turned aside, but Iphidamas smote him on the girdle, below the
corslet, and himself pressed on, trusting to his heavy hand, but pierced
not the gleaming girdle, for long ere that the point struck on the
silver, and was bent like lead. Then wide-ruling Agamemnon caught the
spear with his hand and drew it toward him furiously, like a lion, and
snatched it out of the hand of Iphidamas, and smote his neck with the
sword, and unstrung his limbs. So even there he fell, and slept a sleep
of bronze most piteously. Then did Agamemnon son of Atreus strip him,
and went bearing his goodly harness into the throng of the Achaians.

Now when Koon beheld him, Koon Antenor's eldest son, illustrious among
men, strong sorrow came on him, covering his eyes, for his brother's
fall: and he stood on one side with his spear, and unmarked of noble
Agamemnon smote him on the mid-arm, beneath the elbow, and clean through
went the point of the shining spear. Then Agamemnon king of men
shuddered, yet not even so did he cease from battle and war, but rushed
against Koon, grasping his wind-nurtured spear. Verily then Koon seized
right lustily by the foot Iphidamas, his brother, and his father's son,
and called to all the best of his men; but him, as he dragged the dead
through the press, beneath his bossy shield Agamemnon wounded with a
bronze-shod spear, and unstrung his limbs, and drew near and cut off his
head over Iphidamas. There the sons of Antenor, at the hands of
Agamemnon the king, filled up the measure of their fate, and went down
within the house of Hades.

But Agamemnon ranged among the ranks of men, with spear, and sword, and
great stones for throwing, while yet the blood welled warm from his
wound. But when the wound waxed dry, and the blood ceased to flow, then
keen pangs came on the might of the son of Atreus. Then leaped he into
his chariot, and bade his charioteer drive to the hollow ships, for he
was sore vexed at heart. And he called in a piercing voice, and shouted
to the Danaans: "O friends, leaders and counsellors of the Argives, do
ye now ward from the seafaring ships the harsh din of battle, for Zeus
the counsellor suffers me not all day to war with the Trojans."

So spake he, and his charioteer lashed the fair-maned steeds toward the
hollow ships, and they flew onward nothing loth, and their breasts were
covered with foam, and their bellies were stained with dust, as they
bore the wounded king away from the war.

But Hector, when he beheld Agamemnon departed, cried to the Trojans and
Lykians with a loud shout: "Ye Trojans and Lykians, and Dardanians that
war in close fight, be men, my friends, and be mindful of your impetuous
valour. The best man of them hath departed and to me hath Zeus, the son
of Kronos, given great renown. But straightway drive ye the whole-hooved
horses against the mighty Danaans, that ye may be the masters and bear
away the higher glory."

So spake he, and aroused the might and spirit of every man. Himself with
high thoughts he fared among the foremost, and fell upon the fight; like
a roaring blast, that leapeth down and stirreth the violet-coloured
deep. There whom first, whom last did he slay, even Hector, son of
Priam, when Zeus vouchsafed him renown?

Asaios first, and Autonoos, and Opites, and Dolops, son of Klytios, and
Opheltios, and Agelaos, and Aisymnos, and Oros, and Hipponoos steadfast
in the fight; these leaders of the Danaans he slew, and thereafter smote
the multitude, even as when the West Wind driveth the clouds of the
white South Wind, smiting with deep storm, and the wave swelleth huge,
rolling onward, and the spray is scattered on high beneath the rush of
the wandering wind; even so many heads of the host were smitten by
Hector.

There had ruin begun, and deeds remedeless been wrought, and now would
all the Achaians have fled and fallen among the ships, if Odysseus had
not called to Diomedes, son of Tydeus: "Tydeus' son, what ails us that
we forget our impetuous valour? Nay, come hither, friend, and take thy
stand by me, for verily it will be shame if Hector of the glancing helm
take the ships."

And to him strong Diomedes spake in answer: "Verily will I abide and
endure, but short will be all our profit, for Zeus, the cloud-gatherer,
clearly desireth to give victory to the Trojans rather than to us."

He spake, and drave Thymbraios from his chariot to the ground, smiting
him with the spear in the left breast, and Odysseus smote Molion the
godlike squire of that prince. These then they let be, when they had
made them cease from war, and then the twain fared through the crowd
with a din, as when two boars full of valour fall on the hunting hounds;
so rushed they on again, and slew the Trojans, while gladly the Achaians
took breath again in their flight from noble Hector.

But Hector quickly spied them among the ranks, and rushed upon them
shouting, and with him followed the battalions of the Trojans. And
beholding him, Diomedes of the loud war-cry shuddered, and straightway
spake to Odysseus that was hard by: "Lo, on us this ruin, even mighty
Hector, is rolling: let us stand, and await him, and ward off his
onset."

So spake he, and swayed and sent forth his far-shadowing spear, and
smote him nor missed, for he aimed at the head, on the summit of the
crest, and bronze by bronze was turned, nor reached his fair flesh, for
it was stopped by the threefold helm with its socket, that Phoebus
Apollo to Hector gave. But Hector sprang back a wondrous way, and
mingled with the throng, and he rested, fallen on his knee, and leaned
on the ground with his stout hand, and dark night veiled his eyes.

But while Tydeus' son was following after his spear-cast, far through
the foremost fighters, where he saw it sink into the earth, Hector gat
breath again, and leaping back into his chariot drave out into the
throng, and avoided black Fate. Then rushing on with his spear mighty
Diomedes spake to him: "Dog, thou art now again escaped from death; yet
came ill very nigh thee: but now hath Phoebus Apollo saved thee, to whom
thou must surely pray when thou goest amid the clash of spears. Verily I
will slay thee yet when I meet thee hereafter, if any god is helper of
me too. Now will I make after the rest, whomsoever I may seize."

So spake he, and stripped the son of Paeon, spearman renowned. But
Alexandros, the lord of fair-tressed Helen, aimed with his arrows at
Tydeides, shepherd of the host; leaning as he aimed against a pillar on
the barrow, by men fashioned, of Ilos, son of Dardanos, an elder of the
people in time gone by. Now Diomedes was stripping the shining corslet
of strong Agastrophos from about his breast, and the shield from his
shoulders, and his strong helmet, when Paris drew the centre of his bow;
nor vainly did the shaft fly from his hand, for he smote the flat of the
right foot of Diomedes, and the arrow went clean through, and stood
fixed in the earth; and right sweetly laughing Paris leaped up from his
lair, and boasted, and said: "Thou art smitten, nor vainly hath the dart
flown forth; would that I had smitten thee in the nether belly, and
taken thy life away. So should the Trojans have breathed again from
their trouble, they that shudder at thee, as bleating goats at a lion."

But him answered strong Diomedes, no wise dismayed: "Bowman, reviler,
proud in thy bow of horn, thou gaper after girls, verily if thou madest
trial in full harness, man to man, thy bow and showers of shafts would
nothing avail thee, but now thou boastest vainly, for that thou hast
grazed the sole of my foot. I care not, more than if a woman had struck
me or a senseless boy, for feeble is the dart of a craven man and a
worthless. In other wise from my hand, yea, if it do but touch, the
sharp shaft flieth, and straightway layeth low its man, and torn are the
cheeks of his wife, and fatherless his children, and he, reddening the
earth with his blood, doth rot away, more birds than women round him."

So spake he, and Odysseus, spearman renowned, drew near, and stood in
front of him, and Diomedes sat down behind him, and drew the sharp arrow
from his foot, and a sore pang passed through his flesh. Then sprang he
into his car, and bade his charioteer drive back to the hollow ships,
for he was hurt at heart. Then Odysseus, spearman renowned, was left
alone, nor did one of the Argives abide by him, for fear had fallen on
them all. Then in heaviness he spoke to his own great-hearted spirit:
"Ah me, what thing shall befall me! A great evil it is if I flee, in
dread of the throng; yet worse is this, if I be taken all alone, for the
other Danaans bath Kronion scattered in flight. But wherefore doth my
heart thus converse with herself? for I know that they are cowards, who
flee the fight, but whosoever is a hero in war, him it mainly behoves to
stand stubbornly, whether he be smitten, or whether he smite another."

While he pondered thus in heart and spirit, the ranks came on of the
Trojans under shield, and hemmed him in the midst, setting among them
their own bane. And even as when hounds and young men in their bloom
press round a boar, and he cometh forth from his deep lair, whetting his
white tusk between crooked jaws, and round him they rush, and the sound
of the gnashing of tusks ariseth, and straightway they await his
assault, so dread as he is, even so then round Odysseus, dear to Zeus,
rushed the Trojans. And first he wounded noble Deiopites, from above, in
the shoulder, leaping on him with sharp spear, and next he slew Thoon
and Ennomos, and next Chersidamas, being leapt down from his chariot, he
smote with the spear on the navel beneath the bossy shield, and he fell
in the dust and clutched the ground with the hollow of his hand. These
left he, and wounded Charops, son of Hippasos, with the spear, the
brother of high-born Sokos. And to help him came Sokos, a godlike man,
and stood hard by him, and spake saying: "O renowned Odysseus,
insatiable of craft and toil, to-day shalt thou either boast over two
sons of Hippasos, as having slain two such men of might, and stripped
their harness, or smitten by my spear shaft lose thy life."

So spake he, and smote him on the circle of his shield; through the
shining shield passed the strong spear, and through the fair-dight
corslet it was thrust, and tore clean off the flesh of the flanks, but
Pallas Athens did not suffer it to mingle with the bowels of the hero,
and Odysseus knew that the dart had in nowise lighted on a deadly spot,
and drawing backward, he spake unto Sokos "Ah, wretched one, verily
sheer destruction is come upon thee. Surely thou hast made me to cease
from warring among the Trojans, but here to thee I declare that slaying
and black Fate will be upon thee this day, and beneath my spear
overthrown shalt thou give glory to me, and thy soul to Hades of the
noble steeds."

He spake, and the other turned, and started to flee, and in his back as
he turned he fixed the spear, between the shoulders, and drave it
through the breast. Then he fell with a crash, and noble Odysseus
boasted over him: "Ah, Sokos, son of wise-hearted Hippasos the tamer of
horses, the end of death hath come upon and caught thee, nor hast thou
avoided. Ah, wretch, thy father and lady mother shall not close thine
eyes in death, but birds that eat flesh raw shall tear thee, shrouding
thee in the multitude of their wings. But to me, if I die, the noble
Achaians will yet give due burial."

So spake he, and drew the mighty spear of wise-hearted Sokos forth from
his flesh, and from his bossy shield, and his blood flowed forth when
the spear was drawn away, and afflicted his spirit. And the
great-hearted Trojans when they beheld the blood of Odysseus, with
clamour through the throng came all together against him. But he gave
ground, and shouted unto his comrades: thrice he shouted then, as loud
as man's mouth might cry, and thrice did Menelaos dear to Zeus hear his
call, and quickly he spake to Aias that was hard by him: "Aias, of the
seed of Zeus, child of Telamon, lord of the hosts, the shout of Odysseus
of the hardy heart rings round me, like as though the Trojans were
oppressing him alone among them, and had cut him off in the strong
battle. Nay, let us speed into the throng, for better it is to rescue
him. I fear lest he suffer some evil, being alone among the Trojans, so
brave as he is, and lest great sorrow for his loss come upon the
Danaans."

So spake he, and led the way, and the other followed him, a godlike man.
Then found they Odysseus dear to Zeus, and the Trojans beset him like
tawny jackals from the hills round a wounded horned stag, that a man
hath smitten with an arrow from the bow-string, and the stag hath fled
from him by speed of foot, as long as the blood is warm and his limbs
are strong, but when the swift arrow hath overcome him, then do the
ravening jackals rend him in the hills, in a dark wood, and then god
leadeth a murderous lion thither, and the jackals flee before him, but
he rendeth them, so then, round wise-hearted Odysseus of the crafty
counsels, did the Trojans gather, many and mighty, but that hero
thrusting on with the spear held off the pitiless day. Then Aias drew
near, bearing his shield like a tower, and stood thereby, and the
Trojans fled from him, where each man might. Then warlike Menelaos led
Odysseus out of the press, holding him by the hand, till the squire
drave up the horses.

Then Aias leaped on the Trojans, and slew Doyrklos, bastard son of
Priam, and thereafter wounded he Pandokos, and he wounded Lysandros, and
Pyrasos, and Pylartes. And as when a brimming river cometh down upon the
plain, in winter flood from the hills, swollen by the rain of Zeus, and
many dry oaks and many pines it sucketh in, and much soil it casteth
into the sea, even so renowned Aias charged them, pursuing through the
plain, slaying horses and men. Nor wist Hector thereof at all, for he
was fighting on the left of all the battle, by the banks of the river
Skamandros, whereby chiefly fell the heads of men, and an unquenchable
cry arose, around great Nestor and warlike Idomeneus. And Hector with
them was warring, and terrible things did he, with the spear and in
horsemanship, and he ravaged the battalions of the young men. Nor would
the noble Achaians have yet given ground from the path, if Alexandros,
the lord of fair-tressed Helen, had not stayed Machaon shepherd of the
host in his valorous deeds, and smitten him on the right shoulder with a
three-barbed arrow. Therefore were the Achaians, breathing valour, in
great fear, lest men should seize Machaon in the turning of the fight.

Then Idomeneus spake to noble Nestor: "O Nestor, son of Neleus, great
glory of the Achaians, arise, get thee up into thy chariot, and with
thee let Machaon go, and swiftly drive to the ships the whole-hooved
horses. For a leech is worth many other men, to cut out arrows, and
spread soothing medicaments."

So spake he, nor did knightly Nestor of Gerenia disobey him, but
straightway gat up into his chariot, and with him went Machaon, son of
Asklepios the good leech, and he lashed the horses, and willingly flew
they forward to the hollow ships, where they desired to be.

But Kebriones, the charioteer of Hector, beheld the Trojans driven in
flight, and spake to him, and said: "Hector, here do we contend with the
Danaans, at the limit of the wailful war, but, lo, the other Trojans are
driven in flight confusedly, men and horses. And Aias son of Telamon is
driving them; well I know him, for wide is the shield round his
shoulders. Nay, let us too urge thither the horses and chariot, there
where horsemen and footmen thickest in the forefront of evil strife are
slaying each other, and the cry goes up unquenchable."

So spake he, and smote the fair-maned horses with the shrill-sounding
whip, and they felt the lash, and fleetly bore the swift chariot among
the Trojans and Achaians, treading on the dead, and the shields, and
with blood was sprinkled all the axle-tree beneath, and the rims round
the car with the drops from the hooves of the horses, and with drops
from the tires about the wheels. And Hector was eager to enter the press
of men, and to leap in and break through, and evil din of battle he
brought among the Danaans, and brief space rested he from smiting with
the spear. Nay, but he ranged among the ranks of other men, with spear,
and sword, and with great stones, but he avoided the battle of Aias son
of Telamon.

Now father Zeus, throned in the highest, roused dread in Aias, and he
stood in amaze, and cast behind him his sevenfold shield of bull's hide,
and gazed round in fear upon the throng, like a wild beast, turning this
way and that, and slowly retreating step by step. And as when hounds and
country folk drive a tawny lion from the mid-fold of the kine, and
suffer him not to carry away the fattest of the herd; all night they
watch, and he in great desire for the flesh maketh his onset, but takes
nothing thereby, for thick the darts fly from strong hands against him,
and the burning brands, and these he dreads for all his fury, and in the
dawn he departeth with vexed heart; even so at that time departed Aias,
vexed at heart, from among the Trojans, right unwillingly, for he feared
sore for the ships of the Achaians. And as when a lazy ass going past a
field hath the better of the boys with him, an ass that hath had many a
cudgel broken about his sides, and he fareth into the deep crop, and
wasteth it, while the boys smite him with cudgels, and feeble is the
force of them, but yet with might and main they drive him forth, when he
hath had his fill of fodder, even so did the high-hearted Trojans and
allies, called from many lands, smite great Aias, son of Telamon, with
darts on the centre of his shield, and ever followed after him. And Aias
would now be mindful of his impetuous valour, and turn again, and hold
at bay the battalions of the horse-taming Trojans, and once more he
would turn him again to flee. Yet he hindered them all from making their
way to the fleet ships, and himself stood and smote between the Trojans
and the Achaians, and the spears from strong hands stuck some of them in
his great shield, fain to win further, and many or ever they reached his
white body stood fast halfway in the earth, right eager to sate
themselves with his flesh.

So they fought like unto burning fire.

But the mares of Neleus all sweating bare Nestor out of the battle, and
also carried they Machaon, shepherd of the host. Then the noble
Achilles, swift of foot, beheld and was ware of him, for Achilles was
standing by the stern of his great ship, watching the dire toil, and the
woful rout of battle. And straightway he spake to his own comrade,
Patroklos, calling to him from beside the ship, and he heard, and from
the hut he came, like unto Ares; and this to him was the beginning of
evil. Then the strong son of Menoitios spake first to Achilles: "Why
dost thou call me, Achilles, what need hast thou of me?"

Then swift-footed Achilles answered him and spake: "Noble son of
Menoitios, dear to my heart, now methinks that the Achaians will stand
in prayer about my knees, for need no longer tolerable cometh upon them.
But go now, Patroklos dear to Zeus, and ask Nestor who is this that he
bringeth wounded from the war. Verily from behind he is most like
Machaon, that child of Asklepios, but I beheld not the eyes of the man,
for the horses sped past me, straining forward eagerly."

So spake he and Patroklos obeyed his dear comrade, and started and ran
past the ships, and the huts of the Achaians.

Now when they came to the hut of the son of Neleus, they lighted down on
the bounteous earth, and the squire, Eurymedon, loosed the horses of
that old man from the car, and they dried the sweat from their doublets,
standing before the breeze, by the shore of the sea, and thereafter came
they to the hut, and sat them down on chairs. And fair-tressed Hekamede
mixed for them a mess, Hekamede that the old man won from Tenedos, when
Achilles sacked it, and she was the daughter of great-hearted Arsinoos,
and her the Achaians chose out for him, because always in counsel he
excelled them all. First she drew before them a fair table, polished
well, with feet of cyanus, and thereon a vessel of bronze, with onion,
for relish to the drink, and pale honey, and the grain of sacred barley,
and beside it a right goodly cup, that the old man brought from home,
embossed with studs of gold, and four handles there were to it, and
round each two golden doves were feeding, and to the cup were two feet
below. Another man could scarce have lifted the cup from the table, when
it was full, but Nestor the Old raised it easily. In this cup the woman,
like unto the goddesses, mixed a mess for them, with Pramnian wine, and
therein grated cheese of goats' milk, with a grater of bronze, and
scattered white barley thereover, and bade them drink, whenas she had
made ready the mess.

So when the twain had drunk, and driven away parching thirst, they took
their pleasure in discourse, speaking each to the other. Now Patroklos
stood at the doors, a godlike man, and when the old man beheld him, he
arose from his shining chair, and took him by the hand, and led him in,
and bade him be seated. But Patroklos, from over against him, was for
refusing, and spake and said: "No time to sit have I, old man,
fosterling of Zeus, nor wilt thou persuade me. Revered and dreaded is he
that sent me forth to ask thee who this man is that thou bringest home
wounded. Nay, but I know myself, for I see Machaon, shepherd of the
host. And now will I go back again, a messenger, to speak a word to
Achilles. And well dost thou know, old man, fosterling of Zeus, how
terrible a man he is; lightly would he blame even one that is
blameless."

Then knightly Nestor of Gerenia answered him again: "Wherefore is
Achilles thus sorry for the sons of the Achaians, for as many as are
wounded with darts? He knoweth not at all what grief hath arisen in the
camp: for the best men lie in the ships, wounded by shaft or smitten by
spear. Wounded with the shaft is strong Diomedes, son of Tydeus, and
smitten is Odysseus, spearman renowned, and Agamemnon, and this other
have I but newly carried out of battle, wounded with an arrow from the
bowstring. But Achilles, for all his valiance, careth not for the
Danaans, nor pities them at all. Doth he wait till the fleet ships hard
by the shore shall burn in the consuming fire, and till we be slain one
upon another? Nay, but even now speak thou thus and thus to wise-hearted
Achilles, if perchance he will obey thee. Who knows but that, God
helping, thou mightst stir his spirit with thy persuading? and good is
the persuasion of a friend. But if in his heart he be shunning some
oracle of God, and his lady mother hath told him somewhat from Zeus,
natheless let him send forth thee, and let the rest of the host of the
Myrmidons follow with thee, if perchance any light shall arise from thee
to the Danaans; and let him give thee his fair harness, to bear into the
war, if perchance the Trojans may take thee for him, and withhold them
from the strife, and the warlike sons of the Achaians might take breath,
being wearied; for brief is the breathing time in battle. And lightly
might ye, being unwearied, drive men wearied in the war unto the city,
away from the ships and the huts."

So spake he, and roused his heart within his breast, and he started and
ran by the ships to Achilles of the seed of Aiakos.

BOOK XII.

How the Trojans and allies broke within the wall of the
Achaians.

So in the huts the strong son of Menortios was tending the wounded
Eurypylos, but still they fought confusedly, the Argives and Trojans.
Nor were the fosse of the Danaans and their wide wall above long to
protect them, the wall they had builded for defence of the ships, and
the fosse they had drawn round about; for neither had they given goodly
hecatombs to the gods, that it might guard with its bounds their swift
ships and rich spoil. Nay, maugre the deathless gods was it builded,
wherefore it abode steadfast for no long time. While Hector yet lived,
and yet Achilles kept his wrath, and unsacked was the city of Priam the
king, so long the great wall of the Achaians likewise abode steadfast.
But when all the bravest of the Trojans died, and many of the
Argives,--some were taken, and some were left,--and the city of Priam
was sacked in the tenth year, and the Argives had gone back in their
ships to their own dear country, then verily did Poseidon and Apollo
take counsel to wash away the wall, bringing in the might of the rivers,
of all that flow from the hills of Ida to the sea. Rhesos there was, and
Heptaporos, and Karesos, and Rhodios, Grenikos, and Aisepos, and goodly
Skamandros, and Simoeis, whereby many shields and helms fell in the
dust, and the generation of men half divine; the mouths of all these
waters did Phoebus Apollo turn together, and for nine days he drave
their stream against the wall; and still Zeus rained unceasingly, that
the quicker he might mingle the wall with the salt sea. And the Shaker
of the earth, with his trident in his hands, was himself the leader, and
sent forth into the waves all the foundations of beams and stones that
the Achaians had laid with toil, and made all smooth by the strong
current of the Hellespont, and covered again the great beach with sand,
when he had swept away the wall, and turned the rivers back to flow in
their channel, where of old they poured down their fair flow of water.

So were Poseidon and Apollo to do in the aftertime; but then war and the
din of war sounded about the well-builded wall, and the beams of the
towers rang beneath the strokes; while the Argives, subdued by the
scourge of Zeus, were penned and driven in by the hollow ships, in dread
of Hector, the mighty maker of flight, but he, as aforetime, fought like
a whirlwind. And as when, among hounds and hunting men, a boar or lion
wheeleth him about, raging in his strength, and these array themselves
in fashion like a tower, and stand up against him, casting many javelins
from their hands; but never is his stout heart confused nor afraid, and
his courage is his bane, and often he wheeleth him about, and maketh
trial of the ranks of men, and wheresoever he maketh onset there the
ranks of men give way, even so Hector went and besought his comrades
through the press, and spurred them on to cross the dyke. But his
swift-footed horses dared not, but loud they neighed, standing by the
sheer edge, for the wide fosse affrighted them, neither easy to leap
from hard by, nor to cross, for overhanging banks stood round about it
all on either hand, and above it was furnished with sharp stakes that
the sons of the Achaians had planted there, thick set and great, a
bulwark against hostile men. Thereby not lightly might a horse enter,
drawing a well-wheeled chariot; but the footmen were eager, if they
might accomplish it. Then Polydamas drew near valiant Hector, and spake
to him: "Hector and ye other leaders of the Trojans and allies,
foolishly do we drive our fleet horses through the dyke; nay right hard
it is to cross, for sharp stakes stand in it, and over against them the
wall of the Achaians. Thereby none may go down and fight in chariots,
for strait is the place wherein, methinks, we might come by a mischief.
For if Zeus that thunders on high is utterly to destroy them in his evil
will, and is minded to help the Trojans, verily then I too would desire
that even instantly this might be, that the Achaians should perish here
nameless far from Argos: but and if they turn again, and we flee back
from among the ships, and rush into the delved ditch, then methinks that
not even one from among us to bear the tidings will win back to the city
before the force of the Achaians when they rally. But come as I declare,
let us all obey. Let our squires hold the horses by the dyke, while we
being harnessed in our gear as foot soldiers follow all together with
Hector, and the Achaians will not withstand us, if indeed the bands of
death be made fast upon them."

So spake Polydamas, and his wise word pleased Hector well, and
straightway in his harness he leaped from his chariot to the ground. Nor
were the other Trojans gathered upon the chariots, but they all leaped
forth, when they beheld goodly Hector. There each gave it into the
charge of his own charioteer, to keep the horses orderly there by the
fosse. And they divided, and arrayed themselves, and ordered in five
companies they followed with the leaders.

Now they that went with Hector and noble Polydamas, these were most, and
bravest, and most were eager to break the wall, and fight by the hollow
ships; and with them followed Kebriones for the third, for Hector had
left another man with his chariot, a weaker warrior than Kebriones. The
second company Paris led, and Alkathoos, and Agenor: and the third
company Helenos led, and godlike Deiphobos,--two sons of Priam,--the
third was the warrior Asios, Asios Hyrtakos' son, whom his tall sorrel
steeds brought out of Arisbe, from the river Selleeis. And of the fourth
company was the brave son of Anchises leader, even Aineias; and with
him were two sons of Antenor, Archelochos and Akamas, both well skilled
in all warfare.

And Sarpedon led the glorious allies, and to be with him he chose
Glaukos and warlike Asteropaios, for they seamed to him to be manifestly
the bravest of all after himself but he was excellent, yea, above all
the host. And these when they had arrayed one another with
well-fashioned shields of bulls' hide, went straight and eager against
the Danaans, nor deemed that they could longer resist them, but that
themselves should fall on the black ships.

Then the rest of the Trojans and the far-famed allies obeyed the counsel
of blameless Polydamas, but Asios, son of Hyrtakos, leader of men,
willed not to leave his horses there, and his squire the charioteer, but
with them he drew near the swift ships, fond man! for never was he,
avoiding evil Fates, to return, rejoicing in his horses and chariot,
back from the ships to windy Ilios. Nay, ere that the Fate of ill name
over-shadowed him, by the spear of Idomeneus, the haughty son of
Deukalion. For Asios went against the left flank of the ships, whereby
the Achaians returned out of the plain with chariots and horses: there
he drave through his horses and his car, nor found he the doors shut on
the gates, and the long bar, but men were holding them open if perchance
they might save any of their comrades fleeing out of the battle towards
the ships. Straight thereby held he his horses with unswerving aim, and
his men followed him, crying shrilly, for they deemed that the Achaians
could no longer hold them off, but that themselves would fall on the
black ships: fools, for in the gates they found two men of the bravest,
the high-hearted sons of the warrior Lapithae, one the son of
Peirithoos, strong Polypoites, and one Leonteus, peer of Ares the bane
of men. These twain stood in front of the lofty gates, like high-crested
oak trees in the hills, that for ever abide the wind and rain, firm
fixed with roots great and long; even so these twain, trusting to the
mightiness of their hands, abode the coming of great Asios, and fled
not. But straight came the Trojans against the well-builded wall,
holding their shields of dry bulls' hide on high, with mighty clamour,
round the prince Asios, and Iamenos, and Orestes, and Adamas, son of
Asios, and Thoon, and Oinomaos. But the other twain for a while, being
within the wall, urged the well-greaved Achaians to fight for the ships;
but when they saw the Trojans assailing the wall, while the Danaans
cried and turned in flight, then forth rushed the twain, and fought in
front of the gates like wild boars that in the mountains abide the
assailing crew of men and dogs, and charging on either flank they
crush the wood around them, cutting it at the root, and the clatter of
their tusks wages loud, till one smite them and take their life away: so
clattered the bright bronze on the breasts of the twain, as they were
smitten in close fight, for right hardily they fought, trusting to the
host above them, and to their own strength.

For the men above were casting with stones from the well-builded
towers, in defence of themselves and of the huts, and of the
swift-faring ships. And like snowflakes the stones fell earthward,
flakes that a tempestuous wind, as it driveth the dark clouds, rains
thickly down on the bounteous earth: so thick fell the missiles from the
hands of Achaians and Trojans alike, and their helms rang harsh and
their bossy shields, being smitten with mighty stones. Verily then
Asios, son of Hyrtakos, groaned and smote both his thighs, and
indignantly he spake: "Zeus, verily thou too dost greatly love a lie,
for I deemed not that the Achaian heroes could withstand our might and
our hands invincible. But they like wasps of nimble body, or bees that
have made their dwellings in a rugged path, and leave not their hollow
hold, but abide and keep the hunters at bay for the sake of their little
ones, even so these men have no will to give ground from the gates,
though they are but two, ere they slay or be slain."

So spake he, nor with his speech did he persuade the mind of Zeus, for
his will was to give renown to Hector.

But the others were fighting about the other gates, and hard it were for
me like a god to tell all these things, for everywhere around the wall
of stone rose the fire divine; the Argives, for all their sorrow,
defending the ships of necessity; and all the gods were grieved at
heart, as many as were defenders of the Danaans in battle. And together
the Lapithae waged war and strife.

There the son of Peirithoos, mighty Polypoites, smote Damasos with the
spear, through the helmet with cheekpieces of bronze; nor did the bronze
helm stay the spear, but the point of bronze brake clean through the
bone, and all the brain within was scattered, and the spear overcame him
in his eagerness. Thereafter he slew Pylon and Ormenos. And Leonteus of
the stock of Ares smote Hippomachos, son of Antimachos, with the spear,
striking him on the girdle. Then again he drew his sharp sword from the
sheath, and smote Antiphates first in close fight, rushing on him
through the throng, that he fell on his back on the ground; and
thereafter he brought down Menon, and Iamenos, and Orestes one after the
other, to the bounteous earth.

While they were stripping from these the shining arms, the young men who
followed with Polydamas and Hector, they that were most in number and
bravest, and most were eager to break the wall and set the ships on
fire, these still stood doubtful by the fosse, for as they were eager to
pass over a bird had appeared to them, an eagle of lofty flight,
skirting the host on the left hand. In its talons it bore a blood-red
monstrous snake, alive, and struggling still; yea, not yet had it
forgotten the joy of battle, but writhed backward and smote the bird
that held it on the breast, beside the neck, and the bird cast it from
him down to the earth, in sore pain, and dropped it in the midst of the
throng; then with a cry sped away down the gusts of the wind. And the
Trojans shuddered when they saw the gleaming snake lying in the midst of
them; an omen of aegis-bearing Zeus.

Then verily Polydamas stood by brave Hector, and spake: "Hector, ever
dost thou rebuke me in the assemblies, though I counsel wisely; since it
by no means beseemeth one of the people to speak contrary to thee, in
council or in war, but always to increase thy power; but now again will
I say all that seemeth to me to be best. Let us not advance and fight
with the Danaans for the ships. For even thus, methinks, the end will
be, if indeed this bird hath come for the Trojans when they were eager
to cross the dyke, this eagle of lofty flight, skirting the host on
the left hand, bearing in his talons a blood-red monstrous snake, yet
living; then straightway left he hold of him, before he reached his own
nest, nor brought him home in the end to give to his nestlings. Even so
shall we, though we burst with mighty force the gates and wall of the
Achaians, and the Achaians give ground, even so we shall return in
disarray from the ships by the way we came; for many of the Trojans
shall we leave behind, whom the Achaians will slay with the sword, in
defence of the ships. Even so would a soothsayer interpret that in his
heart had clear knowledge of omens, and whom the people obeyed."

Then Hector of the glancing helm lowered on him and said: "Polydamas,
that thou speakest is no longer pleasing to me; yea, thou knowest how to
conceive another counsel better than this. But if thou verily speakest
thus in earnest, then the gods themselves have utterly destroyed thy
wits; thou that bidst us forget the counsels of loud-thundering Zeus,
that himself promised me, and confirmed with a nod of his head! But thou
bidst us be obedient to birds long of wing, whereto I give no heed, nor
take any care thereof, whether they fare to the right, to the dawn and
to the sun, or to the left, to mist and darkness. Nay, for us, let us
trust to the counsel of mighty Zeus, who is king over all mortals and
immortals. One omen is best, to fight for our own country. And wherefore
dost thou fear war and battle? For if all the rest of us be slain by the
ships of the Argives, yet needst thou not fear to perish, for thy heart
is not warlike, nor enduring in battle. But if thou dost hold aloof from
the fight, or winnest any other with thy words to turn him from war,
straightway by my spear shalt thou be smitten, and lose thy life."

So spake he, and led on, and they followed with a wondrous din; and Zeus
that joyeth in the thunder roused from the hills of Ida, a blast of
wind, which bare the dust straight against the ships; and he made weak
the heart of the Achaians, but gave renown to the Trojans and to Hector.
Trusting then in his omens, and their might, they strove to break the
great wall of the Achaians. They dragged down the machicolations
[projecting galleries] of the towers, and overthrew the battlements, and
heaved up the projecting buttresses, that the Achaians set first in the
earth, to be the props of the towers. These they overthrew, and hoped to
break the wall of the Achaians. Nor even now did the Danaans give ground
from the path, but closed up the battlements with shields of bulls'
hides, and cast from them at the foemen as they went below the walls.

Now the two Aiantes went everywhere on the towers, ever urging, and
arousing the courage of the Achaians. One they would accost with honeyed
words, another with hard words they would rebuke, whomsoever they saw
utterly giving ground from the fight: "O friends, whosoever is eminent,
or whosoever is of middle station among the Argives, ay, or lower yet,
for in no wise are all men equal in war, now is there work for all, and
this yourselves well know. Let none turn back to the ships, for that he
hath heard one threatening aloud; nay, get ye forward, and cheer another
on, if perchance Olympian Zeus, the lord of lightning, will grant us to
drive back the assault, and push the foe to the city."

So these twain shouted in the front, and aroused the battle of the
Achaians. But as flakes of snow fall thick on a winter day, when Zeus
the Counsellor bath begun to snow, showing forth these arrows of his
to men, and he hath lulled the winds, and he snoweth continually, till
he hath covered the crests of the high hills, and the uttermost
headlands, and the grassy plains, and rich tillage of men; and the snow
is scattered over the havens and shores of the grey sea, and only the
wave as it rolleth in keeps off the snow, but all other things are
swathed over, when the shower of Zeus cometh heavily, so from both sides
their stones flew thick, some towards the Trojans, and some from the
Trojans against the Achaians, while both sides were smitten, and over
all the wall the din arose.

Yet never would the Trojans, then, and renowned Hector have broken the
gates of the wall, and the long bar, if Zeus the Counsellor had not
roused his son Sarpedon against the Argives, like a lion against the
kine of crooked horn. Straightway he held forth his fair round shield,
of hammered bronze, that the bronze-smith had hammered out, and within
had stitched many bulls' hides with rivets of gold, all round the
circle, this held he forth, and shook two spears; and sped on his way,
like a mountain-nurtured lion, that long lacketh meat, and his brave
spirit urgeth him to make assail on the sheep, and come even against a
well-builded homestead. Nay, even if he find herdsmen thereby, guarding
the sheep with hounds and spears, yet hath he no mind to be driven
without an effort from the steading, but he either leapeth on a sheep,
and seizeth it, or himself is smitten in the foremost place with a dart
from a strong hand. So did his heart then urge on the godlike Sarpedon
to rush against the wall, and break through the battlements. And
instantly he spake to Glaukos, son of Hippolochos: "Glaukos, wherefore
have we twain the chiefest honour,--seats of honour, and messes, and
full cups in Lykia, and all men look on us as gods? And wherefore hold
we a great demesne by the banks of Xanthos, a fair demesne of orchard-land,
and wheat-bearing tilth? Therefore now it behoveth us to take our
stand in the first rank of the Lykians, and encounter fiery battle,
that certain of the well-corsleted Lykians may say, 'Verily our kings
that rule Lykia be no inglorious men, they that eat fat sheep, and drink
the choice wine honey-sweet: nay, but they are also of excellent might,
for they war in the foremost ranks of the Lykians.' Ah, friend, if once
escaped from this battle we were for ever to be ageless and immortal,
neither would I fight myself in the foremost ranks, nor would I send
thee into the war that giveth men renown, but now--for assuredly ten
thousand fates of death do every way beset us, and these no mortal may
escape nor avoid--now let us go forward, whether we shall give glory to
other men, or others to us."

So spake he, and Glaukos turned not apart, nor disobeyed him, and they
twain went straight forward, leading the great host of the Lykians.

Then Menestheus son of Peteos shuddered when he beheld them, for against
his tower they went, bringing with them ruin; and he looked along the
tower of the Achaians if perchance he might see any of the leaders,
that would ward off destruction from his comrades, and he beheld the two
Aiantes, insatiate of war, standing there, and Teukros hard by, newly
come from his hut; but he could not cry to be heard of them, so great
was the din, and the noise went up unto heaven of smitten shields and
helms with horse-hair crests, and of the gates, for they had all been
shut, and the Trojans stood beside them, and strove by force to break
them, and enter in. Swiftly then to Aias he sent the herald Thootes:
"Go, noble Thootes, and run, and call Aias: or rather the twain, for
that will be far the best of all, since quickly here will there be
wrought utter ruin. For hereby press the leaders of the Lykians, who of
old are fierce in strong battle. But if beside them too war and toil
arise, yet at least let the strong Telamonian Aias come alone and let
Teukros the skilled bowman follow with him."

So spake he, and the herald listened and disobeyed him not, but started
and ran by the wall of the mail-clad Achaians, and came, and stood by
the Aiantes, and straightway spake: "Ye twain Aiantes, leaders of the
mail-clad Achaians, the dear son of Peteos, fosterling of Zeus, biddeth
you go thither, that, if it be but for a little while, ye may take your
part in battle: both of you he more desireth, for that will be far the
best of all, since quickly there will there be wrought utter ruin. For
thereby press the leaders of the Lykians, who of old are fierce in
strong battle. But if beside you too war and toil arise, yet at least
let the strong Telamonian Aias come alone, and let Teukros the skilled
bowman follow with him."

So spake he, nor did the strong Telamonian Aias disobey, but instantly
spake winged words to the son of Oileus: "Aias, do ye twain stand here,
thyself and strong Lykomedes, and urge the Danaans to war with all their
might; but I go thither, to take my part in battle, and quickly will I
come again, when I have well aided them."

So spake Telamonian Aias and departed, and Teukros went with him, his
brother by the same father, and with them Pandion bare the bended bow
of Teukros.

Now when they came to the tower of great-hearted Menestheus, passing
within the wall,--and to men sore pressed they came,--the foe were
climbing upon the battlements, like a dark whirlwind, even the strong
leaders and counsellors of the Lykians; and they hurled together into
the war and the battle-cry arose. Now first did Aias Telamon's son slay
a man, Epikles great of heart, the comrade of Sarpedon. With a jagged
stone he smote him, a great stone that lay uppermost within the wall, by
the battlements. Not lightly could a man hold it in both hands, however
strong in his youth, of such mortals as now are, but Aias lifted it, and
cast it from above, and shattered the helm of fourfold crest, and broke
the bones of the head, and he fell like a diver from the lofty tower,
and his life left his bones. And Teukros smote Glaukos, the strong son
of Hippolochos, as he came on, with an arrow from the lofty wall; even
where he saw his shoulder bare he smote him, and made him cease from
delight in battle. Back from the wall he leapt secretly, lest any of the
Achaians should see him smitten, and speak boastfully. But sorrow came
on Sarpedon when Glaukos departed, so soon as he was aware thereof, but
he forgot not the joy of battle. He aimed at Alkmaon, son of Thestor,
with the spear, and smote him, and drew out the spear. And Alkmaon
following the spear fell prone, and his bronze-dight arms rang round
him. Then Sarpedon seized with strong hands the battlement, and dragged,
and it all gave way together, while above the wall was stripped bare,
and made a path for many.

Then Aias and Teukros did encounter him: Teukros smote him with an
arrow, on the bright baldric of his covering shield, about the breast,
but Zeus warded off the Fates from his son, that he should not be
overcome beside the ships' sterns. Then Aias leaped on and smote his
shield, nor did the spear pass clean through, yet shook he Sarpedon in
his eagerness. He gave ground a little way from the battlement, yet
retreated not wholly, since his heart hoped to win renown. Then he
turned and cried to the godlike Lykians: "O Lykians, wherefore thus are
ye slack in impetuous valour. Hard it is for me, stalwart as I am, alone
to break through, and make a path to the ships, nay, follow hard after
me, for the more men, the better work."

So spake he, and they, dreading the rebuke of their king, pressed on the
harder around the counsellor and king. And the Argives on the other side
made strong their battalions within the wall, and mighty toil began for
them. For neither could the strong Lykians burst through the wall of
the Danaans, and make a way to the ships, nor could the warlike Danaans
drive back the Lykians from the wall, when once they had drawn near
thereto. But as two men contend about the marches of their land, with
measuring rods in their hands, in a common field, when in narrow space
they strive for equal shares, even so the battlements divided them, and
over those they smote the round shields of ox hide about the breasts of
either side, and the fluttering bucklers. And many were wounded in the
flesh with the ruthless bronze, whensoever the back of any of the
warriors was laid bare as he turned, ay, and many clean through the very
shield. Yea, everywhere the towers and battlements swam with the blood
of men shed on either side, by Trojans and Achaians. But even so they
could not put the Argives to rout, but they held their ground, as an
honest woman that laboureth with her hands holds the balance, and raises
the weight and the wool together, balancing them, that she may win scant
wages for her children; so evenly was strained their war and battle,
till the moment when Zeus gave the greater renown to Hector, son of
Priam, who was the first to leap within the wall of the Achaians. In a
piercing voice he cried aloud to the Trojans: "Rise, ye horse-taming
Trojans, break the wall of the Argives, and cast among the ships fierce
blazing fire."

So spake he, spurring them on, and they all heard him with their ears,
and in one mass rushed straight against the wall, and with sharp spears
in their hands climbed upon the machicolations of the towers. And
Hector seized and carried a stone that lay in front of the gates, thick
in the hinder part, but sharp at point: a stone that not the two best
men of the people, such as mortals now are, could lightly lift from the
ground on to a wain, but easily he wielded it alone, for the son of
crooked-counselling Kronos made it light for him. And as when a shepherd
lightly beareth the fleece of a ram, taking it in one hand, and little
doth it burden him, so Hector lifted the stone, and bare it straight
against the doors that closely guarded the stubborn-set portals, double
gates and tall, and two cross bars held them within, and one bolt
fastened them. And he came, and stood hard by, and firmly planted
himself, and smote them in the midst, setting his legs well apart, that
his cast might lack no strength. And he brake both the hinges, and the
stone fell within by reason of its weight, and the gates rang loud
around, and the bars held not, and the doors burst this way and that
beneath the rush of the stone. Then glorious Hector leaped in, with face
like the sudden night, shining in wondrous mail that was clad about his

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