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

Part 6 out of 7

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countless shingle without stint, nor shall the Achaians know where to
gather his bones, so vast a shroud of silt will I heap over them. Where
he dieth there shall be his tomb, neither shall he have need of any
barrow to be raised, when the Achaians make his funeral."

He said, and rushed in tumult on Achilles, raging from on high,
thundering with foam and blood and bodies of dead men. Then did a dark
wave of the heaven-sprung River stand towering up and overwhelm the son
of Peleus. But Hera cried aloud in terror of Achilles, lest the great
deep-eddying River sweep him away, and straightway she called to
Hephaistos, her dear son: "Rise, lame god, O my son; it was against thee
we thought that eddying Xanthos was matched in fight. Help with all
speed, put forth large blast of flame. Then will I go to raise a strong
storm out of the sea of the west wind and the white south which shall
utterly consume the dead Trojans and their armour, blowing the angry
flame. Thou along Xanthos' banks burn up his trees and wrap himself in
fire, nor let him anywise turn thee back by soft words or by threat, nor
stay thy rage--only when I cry to thee with my voice, then hold the
unwearying fire."

Thus spake she, and Hephaistos made ready fierce-blazing fire. First on
the plain fire blazed, and burnt the many dead who lay there thick,
slain by Achilles; and all the plain was parched and the bright water
stayed. And as when in late summer the north wind swiftly parcheth a new
watered orchard, and he that tilleth it is glad, thus was the whole
plain parched, and Hephaistos consumed the dead; then against the river
he turned his gleaming flame. Elms burnt and willow trees and tamarisks,
and lotos burnt and rush and galingale which round the fair streams of
the river grew in multitude. And the eels and fishes beneath the eddies
were afflicted, which through the fair streams tumbled this way and
that, in anguish at the blast of crafty Hephaistos. And the strong River
burned, and spake and called to him by name: "Hephaistos, there is no
god can match with thee, nor will I fight thee thus ablaze with fire.
Cease strife, yea, let noble Achilles drive the Trojans forthwith out of
their city; what have I to do with strife and succour?"

Thus spake he, burnt with fire, for his fair streams were bubbling. And
as a cauldron boileth within, beset with much fire, melting the lard of
some fatted hog spurting up on all sides, and logs of firewood lie
thereunder,--so burned his fair streams in the fire, and the water
boiled. He had no mind to flow, but refrained him, for the breath of
cunning Hephaistos violently afflicted him. Then unto Hera, earnestly
beseeching her,' he spake winged words: "Hera, wherefore hath thy son
assailed my stream to vex it above others? I am less chargeable than all
the rest that are helpers of the Trojans. But lo, I will give over, if
thou wilt, and let thy son give over too. And I further will swear even
this, that never will I ward the day of evil from the Trojans, not even
when all Troy is burning in the blaze of hungry fire, and the warlike
sons of Achaians are the burners thereof."

Then when the white-armed goddess Hera heard his speech, straightway she
spake unto Hephaistos her dear son: "Hephaistos, hold, famed son; it
befitteth not thus for mortals' sake to do violence to an immortal god."

Thus said she and Hephaistos quenched the fierce-blazing fire, and the
wave once more rolled down the fair river-bed.

So when the rage of Xanthos was overcome, both ceased, for Hera stayed
them, though in wrath. But among the other gods fell grievous bitter
strife, and their hearts were carried diverse in their breasts. And they
clashed together with a great noise, and the wide earth groaned, and the
clarion of great Heaven rang around. Zeus heard as he sate upon Olympus,
and his heart within him laughed pleasantly when he beheld that strife
of gods. Then no longer stood they asunder, for Ares piercer of shields
began the battle and first made for Athene with his bronze spear, and
spake a taunting word: "Wherefore, O dogfly, dost thou match gods with
gods in strife, with stormy daring, as thy great spirit moveth thee?
Rememberest thou not how thou movedst Diomedes Tydeus' son to wound me,
and thyself didst take a visible spear and thrust it straight at me and
pierce through my fair skin? Therefore deem I now that thou shalt pay me
for all that thou hast done."

Thus saying he smote on the dread tasselled aegis that not even the
lightning of Zeus can overcome--thereon smote bloodstained Ares with his
long spear. But she, giving back, grasped with stout hand a stone that
lay upon the plain, black, rugged, huge, which men of old time set to be
the landmark of a field; this hurled she, and smote impetuous Ares on
the neck, and unstrung his limbs. Seven roods he covered in his fall,
and soiled his hair with dust, and his armour rang upon him. And Pallas
Athene laughed, and spake to him winged words exultingly: "Fool, not
even yet hast thou learnt how far better than thou I claim to be, that
thus thou matchest thy might with mine. Thus shalt thou satisfy thy
mother's curses, who deviseth mischief against thee in her wrath, for
that thou hast left the Achaians and givest the proud Trojan's aid."

Thus having said she turned from him her shining eyes. Him did Aphrodite
daughter of Zeus take by the hand and lead away, groaning continually,
for scarce gathered he his spirit back to him. But when the white-armed
goddess Hera was aware of them, straightway she spake unto Athene winged
words: "Out on it, child of aegis-bearing Zeus, maiden invincible, lo
there the dogfly is leading Ares destroyer of men out of the fray of
battle down the throng--nay then, pursue her."

She said, and Athene sped after her with heart exultant, and made at her
and smote her with stout hand upon the breast, and straightway her knees
and heart were unstrung. So they twain lay on the bounteous earth, and
she spake winged words exultingly: "Such let all be who give the Trojans
aid when they fight against the mailed Argives. Be they even so bold and
brave as Aphrodite when she came to succour Ares and defied my might.
Then should we long ago have ceased from war, having laid waste the
stablished citadel of Ilios."

[She said, and the white-armed goddess Hera smiled.] Then to Apollo
spake the earth-shaking lord: "Phoebus, why stand we apart? It befitteth
not after the rest have begun: that were the more shameful if without
fighting we should go to Olympus to the bronze-thresholded house of
Zeus. Begin, for thou art younger; it were not meet for me, since I was
born first and know more. Fond god, how foolish is thy heart! Thou
rememberest not all the ills we twain alone of gods endured at Ilios,
when by ordinance of Zeus we came to proud Laomedon and served him
through a year for promised recompense, and he laid on us his commands.
I round their city built the Trojans a wall, wide and most fair, that
the city might be unstormed, and thou Phoebus, didst herd shambling
crook-horned kine among the spurs of woody many-folded Ida. But when the
joyous seasons were accomplishing the term of hire, then redoubtable
Laomedon robbed us of all hire, and sent us off with threats. He
threatened that he would bind together our feet and hands and sell us
into far-off isles, and the ears of both of us he vowed to shear off
with the sword. So we went home with angry hearts, wroth for the hire he
promised and gave us not. To his folk not thou showest favour, nor
essayest with us how the proud Trojans may be brought low and perish
miserably with their children and noble wives."

Then to him answered King Apollo the Far-darter: "Shaker of the earth,
of no sound mind wouldst thou repute me if I should fight against thee
for the sake of pitiful mortals, who like unto leaves now live in
glowing life, consuming the fruit of the earth, and now again pine into
death. Let us with all speed cease from combat, and let them do battle
by themselves."

Thus saying he turned away, for he felt shame to deal in blows with his
father's brother. But his sister upbraided him sore, the queen of wild
beasts, huntress Artemis, and spake a taunting word: "So then thou
fleest, Far-darter, hast quite yielded to Poseidon the victory, and
given him glory for naught! Fond god, why bearest thou an ineffectual
bow in vain? Let me not hear thee again in the halls of our sire boast
as before among the immortal gods thou wouldst stand up to fight against

Thus spake she, but far-darting Apollo answered her not. But angrily the
noble spouse of Zeus [upbraided the Archer Queen with taunting words:]
"How now art thou fain, bold vixen, to set thyself against me? Hard were
it for thee to match my might, bow-bearer though thou art, since against
women Zeus made thee a lion, and giveth thee to slay whomso of them thou
wilt. Truly it is better on the mountains to slay wild beasts and deer
than to fight amain with mightier than thou. But if thou wilt, try war,
that thou mayest know well how far stronger am I, since thou matchest
thy might with mine."

She said, and with her left hand caught both the other's hands by the
wrist, and with her right took the bow from off her shoulders, and
therewith, smiling, beat her on the ears as she turned this way and
that; and the swift arrows fell out of her quiver. And weeping from
before her the goddess fled like a dove that from before a falcon flieth
to a hollow rock, a cleft--for she was not fated to be caught;--thus
Artemis fled weeping, and left her bow and arrows where they lay. Then
to Leto spake the Guide, the slayer of Argus: "Leto, with thee will I no
wise fight; a grievous thing it is to come to blows with wives of
cloud-gathering Zeus; but boast to thy heart's content among the
immortal gods that thou didst vanquish me by might and main."

Thus said he, and Leto gathered up the curved bow and arrows fallen
hither and thither amid the whirl of dust: so taking her daughter's bow
she went back. And the maiden came to Olympus, to the bronze-thresholded
house of Zeus, and weeping set herself on her father's knee, while round
her her divine vesture quivered: and her father, Kronos' son, took her
to him and asked of her, laughing gently: "Who of the inhabitants of
heaven, dear child, hath dealt with thee thus [hastily, as though thou
hadst been doing some wrong thing openly]?"

And to him in answer spake the fair-crowned queen of the echoing chase:
"It was thy wife that buffeted me, father, the white-armed Hera, from
whom are strife and contention come upon the immortals."

Thus talked they unto one another. Then Phoebus Apollo entered into
sacred Ilios, for he was troubled for the wall of the well-builded city,
lest the Danaans waste it before its hour upon that day. But the other
ever-living gods went to Olympus, some angry and some greatly
triumphing, and sat down beside Zeus who hideth himself in dark clouds.

Now Achilles was still slaying the Trojans, both themselves and their
whole-hooved horses. And as when a smoke goeth up to the broad heaven,
when a city burneth, kindled by the wrath of gods, and causeth toil to
all, and griefs to many, thus caused Achilles toil and griefs to the
Trojans. And the old man Priam stood on the sacred tower, and was aware
of dread Achilles, how before him the Trojans thronged in rout, nor was
any succour found of them. Then with a cry he went down from the tower,
to rouse the gallant warders along the walls: "Hold open the gates in
your hands until the folk come to the city in their rout, for closely is
Achilles chasing them--now trow I there will be deadly deeds. And when
they are gathered within the wall and are taking breath, then again shut
back the gate-wings firmly builded; for I fear lest that murderous man
spring in within the wall."

Thus spake he, and they opened the gates and thrust back the bolts; and
the gates flung back gave safety. Then Apollo leapt forth to the front
that he might ward destruction from the Trojans. They straight for the
city and the high wall were fleeing, parched with thirst and dust-grimed
from the plain, and Achilles chased them vehemently with his spear, for
strong frenzy possessed his heart continually, and he thirsted to win
him renown. Then would the sons of the Achaians have taken high-gated
Troy, had not Phoebus Apollo aroused goodly Agenor, Antenor's son, a
princely man and strong. In his heart he put good courage, and himself
stood by his side that he might ward off the grievous visitations of
death, leaning against the oak, and he was shrouded in thick mist. So
when Agenor was aware of Achilles waster of cities, he halted, and his
heart much wavered as he stood; and in trouble he spake to his great
heart: "Ay me, if I flee before mighty Achilles, there where the rest
are driven terror-struck, nathless will he overtake me and slaughter me
as a coward. Or what if I leave these to be driven before Achilles the
son of Peleus, and flee upon my feet from the wall by another way to the
Ileian plain, until I come to the spurs of Ida, and hide me in the
underwood? So then at evening, having bathed in the river and refreshed
me of sweat, I might return to Ilios. Nay, why doth my heart debate thus
within me? Lest he might be aware of me as I get me from the city for
the plain, and speeding after overtake me with swift feet; then will it
no more be possible to avoid the visitation of death, for he is
exceeding mighty above all mankind. What then if in front of the city I
go forth to meet him? Surely his flesh too is penetrable by sharp
bronze, and there is but one life within, and men say he is mortal,
howbeit Zeus the son of Kronos giveth him renown."

Thus saying, he gathered himself to await Achilles, and within him his
stout heart was set to strive and fight. As a leopardess goeth forth
from a deep thicket to affront a huntsman, nor is afraid at heart, nor
fleeth when she heareth the bay of hounds; for albeit the man first
smite her with thrust or throw, yet even pierced through with the spear
she ceaseth not from her courage until she either grapple or be slain,
so noble Antenor's son, goodly Agenor, refused to flee till he should
put Achilles to the proof, but held before him the circle of his shield,
and aimed at him with his spear, and cried aloud: "Doubtless thou hopest
in thy heart, noble Achilles, on this day to sack the city of the proud
men of Troy. Fond man, there shall many woful things yet be wrought
before it, for within it we are many men and staunch, who in front of
our parents dear and wives and sons keep Ilios safe; but thou shalt here
meet death, albeit so redoubtable and bold a man of war."

He said, and hurled his sharp spear with weighty hand, and smote him on
the leg beneath the knee, nor missed his mark, and the greave of
new-wrought tin rang terribly on him; but the bronze bounded back from
him it smote, nor pierced him, for the god's gift drave it back. Then
the son of Peleus in his turn made at godlike Agenor, but Apollo
suffered him not to win renown, but caught away Agenor, and shrouded him
in thick mist, and sent him in peace to be gone out of the war. Then by
wile kept the son of Peleus away from the folk, for in complete
semblance of Agenor himself he stood before the feet of Achilles, who
hasted to run upon him and chase him. And while he chased him over the
wheat-bearing plain, edging him toward the deep-eddying river
Skamandros, as he ran but a little in front of him (for by wile Apollo
beguiled him that he kept ever hoping to overtake him in the race),
meantime the other Trojans in common rout came gladly unto their
fastness, and the city was filled with the throng of them. Neither had
they heart to await one another outside the city and wall, and to know
who might have escaped and who had perished in the fight, but
impetuously they poured into the city, whomsoever of them his feet and
knees might save.


How Achilles fought with Hector, and slew him, and brought
his body to the ships.

Thus they throughout the city, scared like fawns, were cooling their
sweat and drinking and slaking their thirst, leaning on the fair
battlements, while the Achaians drew near the wall, setting shields to
shoulders. But Hector deadly fate bound to abide in his place, in front
of Ilios and the Skaian gates. Then to the son of Peleus spake Phoebus
Apollo: "Wherefore, son of Peleus, pursuest thou me with swift feet,
thyself being mortal and I a deathless god? Thou hast not even yet known
me, that I am a god, but strivest vehemently. Truly thou regardest not
thy task among the affliction of the Trojans whom thou affrightedst, who
now are gathered into the city, while thou heat wandered hither. Me thou
wilt never slay, for I am not subject unto death."

Then mightily moved spake unto him Achilles fleet of foot: "Thou hast
baulked me, Far-darter, most mischievous of all the gods, in that thou
hast turned me hither from the wall: else should full many yet have
bitten the dust or ever within Ilios had they come. Now hast thou robbed
me of great renown, and lightly hast saved them, because thou hadst no
vengeance to fear thereafter. Verily I would avenge me on thee, had I
but the power."

Thus saying toward the city he was gone in pride of heart, rushing like
some victorious horse in a chariot, that runneth lightly at full speed
over the plain; so swiftly plied Achilles his feet and knees. Him the
old man Priam first beheld as he sped across the plain, blazing as the
star that cometh forth at harvest-time, and plain seen his rays shine
forth amid the host of stars in the darkness of night, the star whose
name men call Orion's Dog. Brightest of all is he, yet for an evil sign
is he set, and bringeth much fever upon hapless men. Even so on
Achilles' breast the bronze gleamed as he ran. And the old man cried
aloud and beat upon his head with his hands, raising them on high, and
with a cry called aloud beseeching his dear son; for he before the gates
was standing, all hot for battle with Achilles. And the old man spake
piteously unto him, stretching forth his hands: "Hector, beloved son, I
pray thee await not this man alone with none beside thee, lest thou
quickly meet thy doom, slain by the son of Peleus, since he is mightier
far, a merciless man. Would the gods loved him even as do I! then
quickly would dogs and vultures devour him on the field--thereby would
cruel pain go from my heart--the man who hath bereft me of many valiant
sons, slaying them and selling them captive into far-off isles. Ay even
now twain of my children, Lykaon and Polydoros, I cannot see among the
Trojans that throng into the fastness, sons whom Laothoe bare me, a
princess among women. If they be yet alive amid the enemy's host, then
will we ransom them with bronze and gold, for there is store within, for
much goods gave the old man famous Altes to his child. If they be dead,
then even in the house of Hades shall they be a sorrow to my soul and to
their mother, even to us who gave them birth, but to the rest of the
folk a briefer sorrow, if but thou die not by Achilles' hand. Nay, come
within the wall, my child, that thou preserve the men and women of Troy,
neither give great triumph to the son of Peleus, and be thyself bereft
of sweet life. Have compassion also on me, the helpless one, who still
can feel, ill-fated; whom the father, Kronos' son, will bring to naught
by a grievous doom in the path of old age, having seen full many ills,
his sons perishing and his daughters carried away captive, and his
chambers laid waste and infant children hurled to the ground in terrible
war, and his sons' wives dragged away by the ruinous hands of the
Achaians. Myself then last of all at the street door will ravening dogs
tear, when some one by stroke or throw of the sharp bronze hath bereft
my limbs of life--even the dogs I reared in my halls about my table and
to guard my door, which then having drunk my blood, maddened at heart
shall lie in the gateway. A young man all beseemeth, even to be slain in
war, to be torn by the sharp bronze and lie on the field; though he be
dead yet is all honourable to him, whate'er be seen: but when dogs
defile the hoary head and hoary beard of an old man slain, this is the
most piteous thing that cometh upon hapless men."

Thus spake the old man, and grasped his hoary hairs, plucking them from
his head, but he persuaded not Hector's soul. Then his mother in her turn
wailed tearfully, loosening the folds of her robe, while with the other
hand she showed her breast; and through her tears spake to him winged
words: "Hector, my child, have regard unto this bosom and pity me, if
ever I gave thee consolation of my breast. Think of it, dear child, and
from this side the wall drive back the foe, nor stand in front to meet
him. He is merciless; if he slay thee it will not be on a bed that I or
thy wife shall bewail thee, my own dear child, but far away from us by
the ships of the Argives will swift dogs devour thee."

Thus they with wailing spake to their dear son, beseeching him sore, yet
they persuaded not Hector's soul, but he stood awaiting Achilles as he
drew nigh in giant might. As a serpent of the mountains upon his den
awaiteth a man, having fed on evil poisons, and fell wrath hath entered
into him, and terribly he glared as he coileth himself about his den, so
Hector with courage unquenchable gave not back, leaning his shining
shield against a jutting tower. Then sore troubled he spake to his great
heart: "Ay me, if I go within the gates and walls, Polydamas will be
first to bring reproach against me, since he bade me lead the Trojans to
the city during this ruinous night, when noble Achilles arose. But I
regarded him not, yet surely it had been better far. And now that I have
undone the host by my wantonness, I am ashamed before the men of Troy
and women of trailing robes, lest at any time some worse man than I
shall say: 'Hector by trusting his own might undid the host.' So will
they speak; then to me would it be better far to face Achilles and
either slay him and go home, or myself die gloriously before the city.
Or what if I lay down my bossy shield and my stout helm, and lean my
spear against the wall, and go of myself to meet noble Achilles and
promise him that Helen, and with her all possessions that Alexandros
brought in hollow ships to Troy, the beginning of strife, we will give
to the Sons of Atreus to take away, and therewithal to divide in half
with the Achaians all else that this city holdeth: and if thereafter I
obtain from the Trojans an oath of the Elders that they will hide
nothing but divide all in twain [whatever wealth the pleasant city hold
within]? But wherefore doth my heart debate thus? I might come unto him
and he would not pity or regard me at all, but presently slay me unarmed
as it were but a woman, if I put off my armour. No time is it now to
dally with him from oaktree or from rock, like youth with maiden, as
youth and maiden hold dalliance one with another. Better is it to join
battle with all speed: let us know upon which of us twain the Olympian
shall bestow renown."

Thus pondered he as he stood, but nigh on him came Achilles, peer of
Enyalios warrior of the waving helm, brandishing from his right shoulder
the Pelian ash, his terrible spear; and all around the bronze on him
flashed like the gleam of blazing fire or of the Sun as he ariseth. And
trembling seized Hector as he was aware of him, nor endured he to abide
in his place, but left the gates behind him and fled in fear. And the
son of Peleus darted after him, trusting in his swift feet. As a falcon
upon the mountains, swiftest of winged things, swoopeth fleetly after a
trembling dove; and she before him fleeth, while he with shrill screams
hard at hand still darteth at her, for his heart urgeth him to seize
her; so Achilles in hot haste flew straight for him, and Hector fled
beneath the Trojans' wall, and plied swift knees. They past the
watch-place and wind-waved wild fig-tree sped ever, away from under the
wall, along the waggon-track, and came to the two fair-flowing springs,
where two fountains rise that feed deep-eddying Skamandros. The one
floweth with warm water, and smoke goeth up therefrom around as it were
from a blazing fire, while the other even in summer floweth forth like
cold hail or snow or ice that water formeth. And there beside the
springs are broad washing-troughs hard by, fair troughs of stone, where
wives and fair daughters of the men of Troy were wont to wash bright
raiment, in the old time of peace, before the sons of the Achaians came.
Thereby they ran, he flying, he pursuing. Valiant was the flier but far
mightier he who fleetly pursued him. For not for beast of sacrifice or
for an oxhide were they striving, such as are prizes for men's speed of
foot, but for the life of horse-taming Hector was their race. And as
when victorious whole-hooved horses run rapidly round the
turning-points, and some great prize lieth in sight, be it a tripod or a
woman, in honour of a man that is dead, so thrice around Priam's city
circled those twain with flying feet, and all the gods were gazing on
them. Then among them spake first the father of gods and men: "Ay me, a
man beloved I see pursued around the wall. My heart is woe for Hector,
who hath burnt for me many thighs of oxen amid the crests of many-folded
Ida, and other times on the city-height; but now is goodly Achilles
pursuing him with swift feet round Priam's town. Come, give your
counsel, gods, and devise whether we shall save him from death or now at
last slay him, valiant though he be, by the hand of Achilles Peleus'

Then to him answered the bright-eyed goddess Athene: "O Father, Lord of
the bright lightning and the dark cloud, what is this thou hast said? A
man that is a mortal, doomed long ago by fate, wouldst thou redeem back
from ill-boding death? Do it, but not all we other gods approve."

And unto her in answer spake cloud-gathering Zeus: "Be of good cheer,
Trito-born, dear child: not in full earnest speak I, and I would fain be
kind to thee. Do as seemeth good to thy mind, and draw not back."

Thus saying he roused Athene, that already was set thereon, and from the
crests of Olympus she darted down.

But after Hector sped fleet Achilles chasing him vehemently. And as when
on the mountains a hound hunteth the fawn of a deer, having started it
from its covert, through glens and glades, and if it crouch to baffle
him under a bush, yet scenting it out the hound runneth constantly until
he find it; so Hector baffled not Peleus' fleet-footed son. Oft as he
set himself to dart under the well-built walls over against the
Dardanian gates, if haply from above they might succour him with darts,
so oft would Achilles gain on him and turn him toward the plain, while
himself he sped ever on the city-side. And as in a dream one faileth in
chase of a flying man, the one faileth in his flight and the other in
his chase--so failed Achilles to overtake him in the race, and Hector to
escape. And thus would Hector have avoided the visitation of death, had
not this time been utterly the last wherein Apollo came nigh to him, who
nerved his strength and his swift knees. For to the host did noble
Achilles sign with his head, and forbade them to hurl bitter darts
against Hector, lest any smiting him should gain renown, and he himself
come second. But when the fourth time they had reached the springs, then
the Father hung his golden balances, and set therein two lots of dreary
death, one of Achilles, one of horse-taming Hector, and held them by the
midst and poised. Then Hector's fated day sank down, and fell to the
house of Hades, and Phoebus Apollo left him. But to Peleus' son came the
bright-eyed goddess Athene, and standing near spake to him winged words:
"Now verily, glorious Achilles dear to Zeus, I have hope that we twain
shall carry off great glory to the ships for the Achaians, having slain
Hector, for all his thirst for fight. No longer is it possible for him
to escape us, not even though far-darting Apollo should travail sore,
grovelling before the Father, aegis-bearing Zeus. But do thou now stand
and take breath, and I will go and persuade this man to confront thee in

Thus spake Athene, and he obeyed, and was glad at heart, and stood
leaning on his bronze-pointed ashen-spear. And she left him and came to
noble Hector, like unto Deiphobos in shape and in strong voice, and
standing near spake to him winged words: "Dear brother, verily fleet
Achilles doth thee violence, chasing thee round Priam's town with swift
feet: but come let us make a stand and await him on our defence."

Then answered her great Hector of the glancing helm: "Deiphobos, verily
aforetime wert thou far dearest of my brothers, but now methinks I shall
honour thee even more, in that thou hast dared for my sake, when thou
sawest me, to come forth of the wall, while the others tarry within."

Then to him again spake the bright-eyed goddess Athene: "Dear brother,
of a truth my father and lady mother and my comrades around besought me
much, entreating me in turn, to tarry there, so greatly do they all
tremble before him; but my heart within was sore with dismal grief. And
now fight we with straight-set resolve and let there be no sparing of
spears, that we may know whether Achilles is to slay us and carry our
bloody spoils to the hollow ships, or whether he might be vanquished by
thy spear."

Thus saying Athene in her subtlety led him on. And when they were come
nigh in onset on one another, to Achilles first spake great Hector of
the glancing helm: "No longer, son of Peleus, will I fly thee, as before
I thrice ran round the great town of Priam, and endured not to await thy
onset. Now my heart biddeth me stand up against thee; I will either slay
or be slain. But come hither and let us pledge us by our gods, for they
shall be best witnesses and beholders of covenants: I will entreat thee
in no outrageous sort, if Zeus grant me to outstay thee, and if I take
thy life, but when I have despoiled thee of thy glorious armour, O
Achilles, I will give back thy dead body to the Achaians, and do thou
the same."

But unto him with grim gaze spake Achilles fleet of foot: "Hector, talk
not to me, thou madman, of covenants. As between men and lions there is
no pledge of faith, nor wolves and sheep can be of one mind, but imagine
evil continually against each other, so is it impossible for thee and me
to be friends, neither shall be any pledge between us until one or other
shall have fallen and glutted with blood Ares, the stubborn god of war.
Bethink thee of all thy soldiership: now behoveth it thee to quit thee
as a good spearman and valiant man of war. No longer is there way of
escape for thee, but Pallas Athene will straightway subdue thee to my
spear; and now in one hour shalt thou pay back for all my sorrows for my
friends whom thou hast slain in the fury of thy spear."

He said, and poised his far-shadowing spear and hurled. And noble Hector
watched the coming thereof and avoided it; for with his eye on it he
crouched, and the bronze spear flew over him, and fixed itself in the
earth; but Pallas Athene caught it up and gave it back to Achilles,
unknown of Hector shepherd of hosts. Then Hector spake unto the noble
son of Peleus: "Thou hast missed, so no wise yet, godlike Achilles, has
thou known from Zeus the hour of my doom, though thou thoughtest it.
Cunning of tongue art thou and a deceiver in speech, that fearing thee I
might forget my valour and strength. Not as I flee shalt thou plant thy
spear in my reins, but drive it straight through my breast as I set on
thee, if God hath given thee to do it. Now in thy turn avoid my spear of
bronze. O that thou mightst take it all into thy flesh! Then would the
war be lighter to the Trojans, if but thou wert dead, for thou art their
greatest bane."

He said, and poised his long-shadowed spear and hurled it, and smote the
midst of the shield of Peleus' son, and missed him not: but far from the
shield the spear leapt back. And Hector was wroth that his swift weapon
had left his hand in vain, and he stood downcast, for he had no second
ashen spear. And he called with a loud shout to Deiphobos of the white
shield, and asked of him a long spear, but he was no wise nigh. Then
Hector knew he truth in his heart, and spake and said: "Ay me, now
verily the gods have summoned me to death. I deemed the warrior
Deiphobos was by my side, but he is within the wall, and it was Athene
who played me false. Now therefore is evil death come very nigh me, not
far off, nor is there way of escape. This then was from of old the
pleasure of Zeus and of the far-darting son of Zeus, who yet before were
fain to succour me: but now my fate hath found me. At least let me not
die without a struggle or ingloriously, but in some great deed of arms
whereof men yet to be born shall hear."

Thus saying he drew his sharp sword that by his flank hung great and
strong, and gathered himself and swooped like a soaring eagle that
darteth to the plain through the dark clouds to seize a tender lamb or
crouching hare. So Hector swooped, brandishing his sharp sword. And
Achilles made at him, for his heart was filled with wild fierceness, and
before his breast he made a covering with his fair graven shield, and
tossed his bright four-plated helm; and round it waved fair golden
plumes [that Hephaistos had set thick about the crest.]. As a star goeth
among stars in the darkness of night, Hesperos, fairest of all stars set
in heaven, so flashed there forth a light from the keen spear Achilles
poised in his right hand, devising mischief against noble Hector, eyeing
his fair flesh to find the fittest place. Now for the rest of him his
flesh was covered by the fair bronze armour he stripped from strong
Patroklos when he slew him, but there was an opening where the collar
bones coming from the shoulders clasp the neck, even at the gullet,
where destruction of life cometh quickliest; there, as he came on, noble
Achilles drave at him with his spear, and right through the tender neck
went the point. Yet the bronze-weighted ashen spear clave not the
windpipe, so that he might yet speak words of answer to his foe. And he
fell down in the dust, and noble Achilles spake exultingly: "Hector,
thou thoughtest, whilst thou wert spoiling Patroklos, that thou wouldst
be safe, and didst reck nothing of me who was afar, thou fool. But away
among the hollow ships his comrade, a mightier far, even I, was left
behind, who now have unstrung thy knees. Thee shall dogs and birds tear
foully, but his funeral shall the Achaians make."

Then with faint breath spake unto him Hector of the glancing helm: "I
pray thee by thy life and knees and parents leave me not for dogs of the
Achaians to devour by the ships, but take good store of bronze and gold,
gifts that my father and lady mother shall give to thee, and give them
home my body back again, that the Trojans and Trojans' wives give me my
due of fire after my death."

But unto him with grim gaze spake Achilles fleet of foot: "Entreat me
not, dog, by knees or parents. Would that my heart's desire could so bid
me myself to carve and eat raw thy flesh, for the evil thou hast wrought
me, as surely is there none that shall keep the dogs from thee, not even
should they bring ten or twenty fold ransom and here weigh it out, and
promise even more, not even were Priam Dardanos' son to bid pay thy
weight in gold, not even so shall thy lady mother lay thee on a bed to
mourn her son, but dogs and birds shall devour thee utterly."

Then dying spake unto him Hector of the glancing helm: "Verily I know
thee and behold thee as thou art, nor was I destined to persuade thee;
truly thy heart is iron in thy breast. Take heed now lest I draw upon
thee wrath of gods, in the day when Paris and Phoebus Apollo slay thee,
for all thy valour, at the Skaian gate."

He ended, and the shadow of death came down upon him, and his soul flew
forth of his limbs and was gone to the house of Hades, wailing her fate,
leaving her vigour and youth. Then to the dead man spake noble Achilles:
"Die: for my death, I will accept it whensoever Zeus and the other
immortal gods are minded to accomplish it."

He said, and from the corpse drew forth his bronze spear, and set it
aside, and stripped the bloody armour from the shoulders. And other sons
of Achaians ran up around, who gazed upon the stature and marvellous
goodliness of Hector. Nor did any stand by but wounded him, and thus
would many a man say looking toward his neighbour: "Go to, of a truth
far easier to handle is Hector now than when he burnt the ships with
blazing fire." Thus would many a man say, and wound him as he stood hard
by. And when fleet noble Achilles had despoiled him, he stood up among
the Achaians and spake winged words: "Friends, chiefs and counsellors of
the Argives, since the gods have vouchsafed us to vanquish this man who
hath done us more evil than all the rest together, come let us make
trial in arms round about the city, that we may know somewhat of the
Trojans' purpose, whether since he hath fallen they will forsake the
citadel, or whether they are minded to abide, albeit Hector is no more.
But wherefore doth my heart debate thus? There lieth by the ships a dead
man unbewailed, unburied, Patroklos; him will I not forget, while I
abide among the living and my knees can stir. Nay if even in the house
of Hades the dead forget their dead, yet will I even there be mindful of
my dear comrade. But come, ye sons of the Achaians, let us now, singing
our song of victory, go back to the hollow ships and take with us our
foe. Great glory have we won; we have slain the noble Hector, unto whom
the Trojans prayed throughout their city, as he had been a god."

He said, and devised foul entreatment of noble Hector. The tendons of
both feet behind he slit from heel to ankle-joint, and thrust
therethrough thongs of ox-hide, and bound him to his chariot, leaving
his head to trail. And when he had mounted the chariot and lifted
therein the famous armour, he lashed his horses to speed, and they
nothing loth flew on. And dust rose around him that was dragged, and his
dark hair flowed loose on either side, and in the dust lay all his once
fair head, for now had Zeus given him over to his foes to entreat foully
in his own native land.

Thus was his head all grimed with dust. But his mother when she beheld
her son, tore her hair and cast far from her her shining veil, and cried
aloud with an exceeding bitter cry. And piteously moaned his father, and
around them the folk fell to crying and moaning throughout the town.
Most like it seemed as though all beetling Ilios were burning utterly in
fire. Scarcely could the folk keep back the old man in his hot desire to
get him forth of the Dardanian gates. For he besought them all, casting
himself down in the mire, and calling on each man by his name: "Hold,
friends, and though you love me leave me to get me forth of the city
alone and go unto the ships of the Achaians. Let me pray this accursed
horror-working man, if haply he may feel shame before his age-fellows
and pity an old man. He also hath a father such as I am, Peleus, who
begat and reared him to be a bane of Trojans--and most of all to me hath
he brought woe. So many sons of mine hath he slain in their flower--yet
for all my sorrow for the rest I mourn them all less than this one
alone, for whom my sharp grief will bring me down to the house of
Hades--even Hector. Would that he had died in my arms; then would we
have wept and wailed our fill, his mother who bore him to her ill hap,
and I myself."

Thus spake he wailing, and all the men of the city made moan with him.
And among the women of Troy, Hekabe led the wild lament: "My child, ah,
woe is me! wherefore should I live in my pain, now thou art dead, who
night and day wert my boast through the city, and blessing to all, both
men and women of Troy throughout the town, who hailed thee as a god, for
verily an exceeding glory to them wert thou in thy life:--now death and
fate have overtaken thee."

Thus spake she wailing. But Hector's wife knew not as yet, for no true
messenger had come to tell her how her husband abode without the gates,
but in an inner chamber of the lofty house she was weaving a double
purple web, and broidering therein manifold flowers. Then she called to
her goodly-haired handmaids through the house to set a great tripod on
the fire, that Hector might have warm washing when he came home out of
the battle fond heart, and was unaware how, far from all washings,
bright-eyed Athene had slain him by the hand of Achilles. But she heard
shrieks and groans from the battlements, and her limbs reeled, and the
shuttle fell from her hands to earth. Then again among her goodly-haired
maids she spake: "Come two of ye this way with me that I may see what
deeds are done. It was the voice of my husband's noble mother that I
heard, and in my own breast my heart leapeth to my mouth and my knees
are numbed beneath me: surely some evil thing is at hand against the
children of Priam. Would that such word might never reach my ear! yet
terribly I dread lest noble Achilles have cut off bold Hector from the
city by himself and chased him to the plain and ere this ended his
perilous pride that possessed him, for never would he tarry among the
throng of men but ran out before them far, yielding place to no man in
his hardihood."

Thus saying she sped through the chamber like one mad, with beating
heart, and with her went her handmaidens. But when she came to the
battlements and the throng of men, she stood still upon the wall and
gazed, and beheld him dragged before the city:--swift horses dragged him
recklessly toward the hollow ships of the Achaians. Then dark night came
on her eyes and shrouded her, and she fell backward and gasped forth her
spirit. From off her head she shook the bright attiring thereof,
frontlet and net and woven band, and veil, the veil that golden
Aphrodite gave her on the day when Hector of the glancing helm led her
forth of the house of Eetion, having given bride-gifts untold. And
around her thronged her husband's sisters and his brothers' wives, who
held her up among them, distraught even to death. But when at last she
came to herself and her soul returned into her breast, then wailing with
deep sobs she spake among the women of Troy: "O Hector, woe is me! to
one fate then were we both born, thou in Troy in the house of Priam, and
I in Thebe under woody Plakos, in the house of Eetion, who reared me
from a little one--ill-fated sire of cruel-fated child. Ah, would he
have begotten me not. Now thou to the house of Hades beneath the secret
places of the earth departest, and me in bitter mourning thou leavest a
widow in thy halls: and thy son is but an infant child--son of unhappy
parents, thee and me--nor shalt thou profit him, Hector, since thou art
dead, neither he thee. For even if he escape the Achaians' woful war,
yet shall labour and sorrow cleave unto him hereafter, for other men
shall seize his lands. The day of orphanage sundereth a child from his
fellows, and his head is bowed down ever, and his cheeks are wet with
tears. And in his need the child seeketh his father's friends, plucking
this one by cloak and that by coat, and one of them that pity him
holdeth his cup a little to his mouth, and moisteneth his lips, but his
palate he moisteneth not. And some child unorphaned thrusteth him from
the feast with blows and taunting words, 'Out with thee! no father of
thine is at our board.' Then weeping to his widowed mother shall he
return, even Astyanax, who erst upon his father's knee ate only marrow
and fat flesh of sheep; and when sleep fell on him and he ceased from
childish play, then in bed in his nurse's arms he would slumber softly
nested, having satisfied his heart with good things; but now that he
hath lost his father he will suffer many ills, Astyanax--that name the
Trojans gave him, because thou only wet the defence of their gates and
their long walls. But now by the beaked ships, far from thy parents,
shall coiling worms devour thee when the dogs have had their fill, as
thou liest naked; yet in these halls lieth raiment of thine, delicate
and fair, wrought by the hands of women. But verily all these will I
consume with burning fire--to thee no profit, since thou wilt never lie
therein, yet that his be honour to thee from the men and the women of

Thus spake she wailing, and the women joined their moan.


Of the funeral of Patroklos, and the funeral games.

Thus they throughout the city made moan: but the Achaians when they were
come to the ships and to the Hellespont were scattered each to his own
ship: only the Myrmidons Achilles suffered not to be scattered, but
spake among his comrades whose delight was in war: "Fleet-horsed
Myrmidons, my trusty comrades, let us not yet unyoke our whole-hooved
steeds from their cars, but with horses and chariots let us go near and
mourn Patroklos, for such is the honour of the dead. Then when we have
our fill of grievous wailing, we will unyoke the horses and all sup

He said, and they with one accord made lamentation, and Achilles led
their mourning. So thrice around the dead they drave their well-maned
steeds, moaning; and Thetis stirred among them desire of wailing.
Bedewed were the sands with tears, bedewed the warriors' arms; so great
a lord of fear they sorrowed for. And Peleus' son led their loud wail,
laying his man-slaying hands on his comrade's breast: "All hail,
Patroklos, even in the house of Hades; for all that I promised thee
before am I accomplishing, seeing I have dragged hither Hector to give
raw unto dogs to devour, and twelve noble children of the Trojans to
slaughter before thy pyre, because of mine anger at thy slaying."

He said, and devised foul entreatment of noble Hector, stretching him
prone in the dust beside the bier of Menoitios' son. And the rest put
off each his glittering bronze arms, and unyoked their high-neighing
horses, and sate them down numberless beside the ship of fleet-footed
Aiakides, and he gave them ample funeral feast. Many sleek oxen were
stretched out, their throats cut with steel, and many sheep and bleating
goats, and many white-tusked boars well grown in fat were spitted to
singe in the flame of Hephaistos; so on all sides round the corpse in
cupfuls blood was flowing.

But the fleet-footed prince, the son of Peleus, was brought to noble
Agamemnon by the Achaian chiefs, hardly persuading him thereto, for his
heart was wroth for his comrade. And when they were come to Agamemnon's
hut, forthwith they bade clear-voiced heralds set a great tripod on the
fire, if haply they might persuade the son of Peleus to wash from him
the bloody gore. But he denied them steadfastly, and sware moreover an
oath: "Nay, verily by Zeus, who is highest and best of gods, not lawful
is it that water should come nigh my head or ever I shall have laid
Patroklos on the fire, and heaped a barrow, and shaved my hair, since
never again shall second grief thus reach my heart, while I remain among
the living. Yet now for the present let us yield us to our mournful
meal: but with the morning, O king of men Agamemnon, rouse the folk to
bring wood and furnish all that it beseemeth a dead man to have when he
goeth beneath the misty gloom, to the end that untiring fire may burn
him quickly from sight, and the host betake them to their work."

Thus spake he, and they listened readily to him and obeyed, and eagerly
making ready each his meal they supped, and no lack had their soul of
equal feast. But when they had put off from them the desire of meat and
drink, the rest went down each man to his tent to take his rest, but the
son of Peleus upon the beach of the sounding sea lay groaning heavily,
amid the host of Myrmidons, in an open place, where waves were breaking
on the shore. Now when sleep took hold on him, easing the cares of his
heart, deep sleep that fell about him, (for sore tired were his glorious
knees with onset upon Hector toward windy Ilios), then came there unto
him the spirit of hapless Patroklos, in all things like his living self,
in stature, and fair eyes, and voice, and the raiment of his body was
the same; and he stood above Achilles' head and spake to him: "Thou
sleepest, and hast forgotten me, O Achilles. Not in my life wast thou
ever unmindful of me, but in my death. Bury me with all speed, that I
pass the gates of Hades. Far off the spirits banish me, the phantoms of
men outworn, nor suffer me to mingle with them beyond the River, but
vainly I wander along the wide-gated dwelling of Hades. Now give me, I
pray pitifully of thee, thy hand, for never more again shall I come back
from Hades, when ye have given me my due of fire. Never among the living
shall we sit apart from our dear comrades and take counsel together, but
me hath the harsh fate swallowed up which was appointed me even from my
birth. Yea and thou too thyself, Achilles peer of gods, beneath the wall
of the noble Trojans art doomed to die. Yet one thing will I say, and
charge thee, if haply thou wilt have regard thereto. Lay not my bones
apart from thine, Achilles, but together, even as we were nurtured in
your house, when Menoitios brought me yet a little one from Opoeis to
your country by reason of a grievous man-slaying, on the day when I slew
Amphidamas' son, not willing it, in childish wrath over the dice. Then
took me the knight Peleus into his house and reared me kindly and named
me thy squire: so therefore let one coffer hide our bones [a golden
coffer, two handled, thy lady mother's gift]."

Then made answer unto him Achilles fleet of foot: "Wherefore, O my
brother, hast thou come hither, and chargest me everything that I should
do? Verily I will accomplish all, and have regard unto thy bidding. But
stand more nigh me; for one moment let us throw our arms around each
other, and take our fill of dolorous lament."

He spake, and reached forth with his hands, but clasped him not; for
like a vapour the spirit was gone beneath the earth with a faint shriek.
And Achilles sprang up marvelling, and smote his hands together, and
spake a word of woe: "Ay me, there remaineth then even in the house of
Hades a spirit and phantom of the dead, albeit the life be not anywise
therein: for all night long hath the spirit of hapless Patroklos stood
over me, wailing and making moan, and charged me everything that I
should do, and wondrous like his living self it seemed."

Thus said he, and stirred in all of them yearning to make lament; and
rosy-fingered Morn shone forth on them while they still made moan around
the piteous corpse. Then lord Agamemnon sped mules and men from all the
huts to fetch wood; and a man of valour watched thereover, even
Meriones, squire of kindly Idomeneus. And they went forth with
wood-cutting axes in their hands and well-woven ropes, and before them
went the mules, and uphill and downhill and sideways and across they
went. But when they came to the spurs of many-fountained Ida,
straightway they set them lustily to hew high-foliaged oaks with the
long-edged bronze, and with loud noise fell the trees. Then splitting
them asunder the Achaians bound them behind the mules, and they tore up
the earth with their feet as they made for the plain through the thick
underwood. And all the wood-cutters bare logs; for thus bade Meriones,
squire of kindly Idomeneus. And on the Shore they threw them down in
line, where Achilles purposed a mighty tomb for Patroklos and for

Then when they had laid down all about great piles of wood, they sate
them down all together and abode. Then straightway Achilles bade the
warlike Myrmidons gird on their arms and each yoke the horses to his
chariot; and they arose and put their armour on, and mounted their
chariots, both fighting men and charioteers. In front were the men in
chariots, and a cloud of footmen followed after, numberless; and in the
midst his comrades bare Patroklos. And they heaped all the corpse with
their hair that they cut off and threw thereon; and behind did goodly
Achilles bear the head, sorrowing; for a noble comrade was he speeding
forth unto the realm of Hades.

And when they came to the place where Achilles had bidden them, they set
down the dead, and piled for him abundant wood. Then fleet-footed noble
Achilles bethought him of one thing more: standing apart from the pyre
he shore off a golden lock, the lock whose growth he nursed to offer
unto the River Spercheios, and sore troubled spake be, looking forth
over the wine-dark sea: "Spercheios, in other wise vowed my father
Peleus unto thee that I returning thither to my native land should shear
my hair for thee and offer a holy hecatomb, and fifty rams should
sacrifice there above thy springs, where is the sacred close and altar
burning spice. So vowed the old man, but thou hast not accomplished him
his desire. And now since I return not to my dear native land, unto the
hero Patroklos I may give this hair to take away."

Thus saying he set the hair in the hands of his dear comrade, and
stirred in all of them yearning to make lament. And so would the light
of the sun have gone down on their lamentation, had not Achilles said
quickly to Agamemnon as be stood beside him: "Son of Atreus--for to thy
words most will the host of the Achaians have regard--of lamentation
they may sate them to the full. But now disperse them from the burning
and bid them make ready their meal, and we to whom the dead is dearest
will take pains for these things; yet let the chiefs tarry nigh unto

Then when Agamemnon king of men heard that, he forthwith dispersed the
host among the trim ships, but the nearest to the dead tarried there and
piled the wood, and made a pyre a hundred feet this way and that, and on
the pyre's top set the corpse, with anguish at their hearts. And many
lusty sheep and shambling crook-horned oxen they flayed and made ready
before the pyre; and taking from all of them the fat, great hearted
Achilles wrapped the corpse therein from head to foot, and heaped the
flayed bodies round. And he set therein two-handled jars of honey and
oil, leaning them against the bier; and four strong-necked horses he
threw swiftly on the pyre, and groaned aloud. Nine house-dogs had the
dead chief: of them did Achilles slay twain and throw them on the pyre.
And twelve valiant sons of great-hearted Trojans he slew with the
sword--for he devised mischief in his heart and he set to the merciless
might of the fire, to feed thereon. Then moaned he aloud, and called on
his dear comrade by his name: "All hail to thee, O Patroklos, even in
the house of Hades, for all that I promised thee before am I now
accomplishing. Twelve valiant sons of great-hearted Trojans, behold
these all in company with thee the fire devoureth: but Hector son of
Priam will I nowise give to the fire to feed upon, but to dogs."

Thus spake he threatening, but no dogs might deal with Hector, for day
and night Aphrodite daughter of Zeus kept off the dogs, and anointed him
with rose-sweet oil ambrosial that Achilles might not tear him when he
dragged him. And over him Phoebus Apollo brought a dark cloud from
heaven to earth and covered all that place whereon the dead man lay,
lest meanwhile the sun's strength shrivel his flesh round about upon his
sinews and limbs.

But the pyre of dead Patroklos kindled not. Then fleet-footed noble
Achilles had a further thought: standing aside from the pyre he prayed
to the two Winds of North and West, and promised them fair offerings,
and pouring large libations from a golden cup besought them to come,
that the corpses might blaze up speedily in the fire, and the wood make
haste to be enkindled. Then Iris, when she heard his prayer, went
swiftly with the message to the Winds. They within the house of the
gusty West Wind were feasting all together at meat, when Iris sped
thither, and halted on the threshold of stone. And when they saw her
with their eyes, they sprang up and called to her every one to sit by
him. But she refused to sit, and spake her word: "No seat for me; I must
go back to the streams of Ocean, to the Ethiopians' land where they
sacrifice hecatombs to the immortal gods, that I too may feast at their
rites. But Achilles is praying the North Wind and the loud West to come,
and promising them fair offerings, that ye may make the pyre be kindled
whereon lieth Patroklos, for whom all the Achaians are making moan."

She having thus said departed, and they arose with a mighty sound,
rolling the clouds before them. And swiftly they came blowing over the
sea, and the wave rose beneath their shrill blast; and they came to
deep-soiled Troy, and fell upon the pile, and loudly roared the mighty
fire. So all night drave they the flame of the pyre together, blowing
shrill; and all night fleet Achilles, holding a two-handled cup, drew
wine from a golden bowl, and poured it forth and drenched the earth,
calling upon the spirit of hapless Patroklos. As a father waileth when
he burneth the bones of his son, new-married, whose death is woe to his
hapless parents, so wailed Achilles as he burnt the bones of his
comrade, going heavily round the burning pile, with many moans.

But at the hour when the Morning star goeth forth to herald light upon
the earth, the star that saffron-mantled Dawn cometh after, and
spreadeth over the salt sea, then grew the burning faint, and the flame
died down. And the Winds went back again to betake them home over the
Thracian main, and it roared with a violent swell. Then the son of
Peleus turned away from the burning and lay down wearied, and sweet
sleep leapt on him. But they who were with Atreus' son gathered all
together, and the noise and clash of their approach aroused him; and he
sate upright and spake a word to them: "Son of Atreus and ye other
chiefs of the Achaians, first quench with gleaming wine all the burning
so far as the fire's strength hath reached, and then let us gather up
the bones of Patroklos, Menoitios' son, singling them well, and easy are
they to discern, for he lay in the middle of the pyre, while the rest
apart at the edge burnt-confusedly, horses and men. And his bones let us
put within a golden urn, and double-folded fat, until that I myself be
hidden in Hades. But no huge barrow I bid you toil to raise--a seemly
one, no more: then afterward do ye Achaians build it broad and high,
whosoever of you after I am gone may be left in the benched ships."

Thus spake he, and they hearkened to the fleet-footed son of Peleus.
First quenched they with gleaming wine the burning so far as the flame
went, and the ash had settled deep: then with lamentation they gathered
up the white bones of their gentle comrade into a golden urn and
double-folded fat, and placed the urn in the hut and covered it with a
linen veil. And they marked the circle of the barrow, and set the
foundations thereof around the pyre, and straightway heaped thereon a
heap of earth. Then when they had heaped up the barrow they were for
going back. But Achilles stayed the folk in that place, and made them
sit in wide assembly, and from his ships he brought forth prizes,
caldrons and tripods, and horses and mules and strong oxen, and
fair-girdled women, and grey iron.

First for fleet chariot-racers he ordained a noble prize, a woman
skilled in fair handiwork for the winner to lead home, and an eared
tripod that held two-and-twenty measures; these for the first man; and
for the second he ordained a six-year-old mare unbroke with a mule foal
in her womb; and for the third he gave a goodly caldron yet untouched by
fire, holding four measures, bright as when first made; and for the
fourth he ordained two talents of gold; and for the fifth a two-handled
urn untouched of fire, Then he stood up and spake a word among the
Argives: "Son of Atreus and ye other well-greaved Achaians, for the
chariot-racers these prizes lie awaiting them in the lists. If in some
other's honour we Achaians were now holding our games, it would be I who
should win the first prize and bear it to my hut; for ye know how far my
pair of horses are first in excellence, for they are immortal and
Poseidon gave them to my father Peleus, and he again to me. But verily I
will abide, I and my whole-hooved horses, so glorious a charioteer have
they lost, and one so kind, who on their manes full often poured smooth
oil, when he had washed them in clear water. For him they stand and
mourn, and their manes are trailing on the ground, and there stand they
with sorrow at their hearts. But ye others throughout the host get ye to
your places, whosoever of the Achalans hath trust in his horses and
firm-jointed car."

Thus spake the son of Peleus, and the fleet chariot-racers were
gathered. First of all arose up Eumelos king of men, Admetos' son, a
skilful charioteer; and next to him arose Tydeus' son, valiant Diomedes,
and yoked his horses of the breed of Tros, which on a time he seized
from Aineias, when Apollo saved their lord. And after him arose Atreus'
son, fair-haired heaven-sprung Menelaos, and yoked him a swift pair
Aithe, Agamemnon's mare, and his own horse Podargos. Her unto Agamemnon
did Anchises' son Echepolos give in fee, that he might escape from
following him to windy Ilios and take his pleasure at home; for great
wealth had Zeus given him, and he dwelt in Sikyon of spacious lawns:--
so Menelaos yoked her, and she longed exceedingly for the race. And
fourth, Antilochos made ready his fair-maned horses, even the noble son
of Nestor, high-hearted king, who was the son of Neleus; and fleet
horses bred at Pylos drew his car. And his father standing by his side
spake counselling him to his profit, though himself was well advised:
"Antilochos, verily albeit thou art young, Zeus and Poseidon have loved
thee and taught thee all skill with horses; wherefore to teach thee is
no great need, for thou well knowest how to wheel round the post; yet
are thy horses very slow in the race: therefore methinks there will be
sad work for thee. For the horses of the others are fleeter, yet the men
know not more cunning than thou hast. So come, dear son, store thy mind
with all manner of cunning, that the prize escape thee not. By cunning
is a woodman far better than by force; by cunning doth a helmsman on the
wine-dark deep steer his swift ship buffeted by winds; by cunning hath
charioteer the better of charioteer. For whoso trusting in his horses
and car alone wheeleth heedlessly and wide at either end, his horses
swerve on the course, and he keepeth them not in hand. But whoso is of
crafty mind, though he drive worse horses, he ever keeping his eye upon
the post turneth closely by it, neither is unaware how far at first to
force his horses by the ox-hide reins, but holdeth them safe in hand and
watcheth the leader in the race. Now will I tell thee a certain sign,
and it shall not escape thee. A fathom's height above the ground
standeth a withered stump, whether of oak or pine: it decayeth not in
the rain, and two white stones on either side thereof are fixed at the
joining of the track, and all round it is smooth driving ground. Whether
it be a monument of some man dead long ago, or have been made their goal
in the race by ancient men, this now is the mark fixed by fleet-footed
Achilles. Wherefore do thou drive close and bear thy horses and chariot
hard thereon, and lean thy body on the well-knit car slightly to their
left, and call upon the off-horse with voice and lash, and give him rein
from thy hand. But let the near horse hug the post so that the nave of
the well-wrought wheel seem to graze it--yet beware of touching the
stone, lest thou wound the horses and break the chariot; so would that
be triumph to the rest and reproach unto thyself. But, dear son, be wise
and on thy guard; for if at the turning-post thou drive past the rest,
there is none shall overtake thee from behind or pass thee by, not
though he drave the goodly Arion in pursuit, the fleet horse of
Adrastos, of divine descent, or the horses of Laomedon, best of all bred
in this land."

Thus spake Neleian Nestor and sate him down again in his place, when he
had told his son the sum of every matter.

And Meriones was the fifth to make ready his sleek-coated steeds. Then
went they up into their chariots, and cast in the lots: and Achilles
shook them, and forth leapt the lot of Antilochos Nestor's son, and the
next lot had lord Eumelos, and next to him the son of Atreus,
spear-famed Menelaos, and next to him drew Meriones his place; then
lastly Tydeides, far the best of all, drew his lot for his chariot's
place. Then they stood side by side, and Achilles showed to them the
turning post, far off in the smooth plain; and beside it he placed an
umpire, godlike Phoinix, his father's follower, that he might note the
running and tell the truth thereof.

Then all together lifted the lash above their steeds, and smote them
with the reins, and called on them eagerly with words: and they
forthwith sped swiftly over the plain, leaving the ships behind; and
beneath their breasts stood the rising dust like a cloud or whirlwind,
and their manes waved on the blowing wind. And the chariots ran
sometimes on the bounteous earth, and other whiles would bound into the
air. And the drivers stood in the cars, and the heart of every man beat
in desire of victory, and they called every man to his horses, that flew
amid their dust across the plain.

But when the fleet horses were now running the last part of the course,
back toward the grey sea, then was manifest the prowess of each, and the
horses strained in the race; and presently to the front rushed the fleet
mares of Pheres' grandson, and next to them Diomedes' stallions of the
breed of Tros, not far apart, but hard anigh, for they seemed ever as
they would mount Eumelos' car, and with their breath his back was warm
and his broad shoulders, for they bent their heads upon him as they flew
along. Thus would Tydeus' son have either outstripped the other or made
it a dead heat, had not Phoebus Apollo been wroth with him and smitten
from his hand the shining lash. Then from his eyes ran tears of anger,
for that he saw the mares still at speed, even swiftlier than before,
while his own horses were thrown out, as running without spur. But
Athene was not unaware of Apollo's guile against Tydeides, and presently
sped after the shepherd of hosts, and gave him back the lash, and put
spirit into his steeds. Then in wrath after the son of Admetos was the
goddess gone, and brake his steeds' yoke, and the mares ran sideways off
the course, and the pole was twisted to the ground. And Eumelos was
hurled out of the car beside the wheel, and his elbows and mouth and
nose were flayed, and his forehead bruised above his eyebrows; and his
eyes filled with tears and his lusty voice was choked. Then Tydeides
held his whole-hooved horses on one side, darting far out before the
rest, for Athene put spirit into his steeds and shed glory on himself.
Now next after him came golden-haired Menelaos Atreus' son. But
Antilochos called to his father's horses: "Go ye too in, strain to your
fleetest pace. Truly I nowise bid you strive with those, the horses of
wise Tydeides, unto which Athene hath now given speed, and shed glory on
their charioteer. But overtake Atreides' horses with all haste, and be
not outstripped by them, lest Aithe that is but a mare pour scorn on
you. Why are ye outstripped, brave steeds? Thus will I tell you, and
verily it shall be brought to pass--ye will find no tendance with Nestor
shepherd of hosts, but straightway he will slay you with the edge of the
sword if through heedlessness we win but the worse prize. Have after
them at your utmost speed, and I for my part will devise a plan to pass
them in the strait part of the course, and this shall fail me not."

Thus spake he, and they fearing the voice of the prince ran swiftlier
some little while; and presently did the good warrior Antilochos espy a
strait place in a sunk part of the way. There was a rift in the earth,
where torrent water gathered and brake part of the track away, and
hollowed all the place; there drave Menelaos, shunning the encounter of
the wheels. But Antilochos turned his whole-hooved horses out of the
track, and followed him a little at one side. And the son of Atreus took
alarm and shouted to Antilochos: "Antilochos, thou art driving
recklessly--hold in thy horses! The road is straitened, soon thou mayest
pass me in a wider place, lest thou foul my chariot and undo us both."

Thus spake he, but Antilochos drave even fiercelier than before, plying
his lash, as though he heard him not. As far as is the range of a disk
swung from the shoulder when a young man hurleth it, making trial of his
force, even so far ran they on; then the mares of Atreus' son gave back,
for he ceased of himself to urge them on, lest the whole-hooved steeds
should encounter on the track, and overset the well-knit cars, and the
drivers fall in the dust in their zeal for victory. So upbraiding
Antilochos spake golden-haired Menelaos: "Antilochos, no mortal man is
more malicious than thou. Go thy mad way, since falsely have we Achaians
called thee wise. Yet even so thou shalt not bear off the prize
unchallenged to an oath."

Thus saying he called aloud to his horses: "Hold ye not back nor stand
still with sorrow at heart. Their feet and knees will grow weary before
yours, for they both lack youth."

Thus spake he, and they fearing the voice of the prince sped faster on,
and were quickly close upon the others.

Now the Argives sitting in concourse were gazing at the horses, and they
came flying amid their dust over the plain. And the first aware of them
was Idomeneus, chief of the Cretans, for he was sitting outside the
concourse in the highest place of view, and when he heard the voice of
one that shouted, though afar off, he knew it; and he was aware of a
horse showing plainly in the front, a chestnut all the rest of him, but
in the forehead marked with a white star round like the moon. And he
stood upright and spoke among the Argives: "Friends, chiefs, and
counsellors of the Argives, is it I alone who see the horses, or do ye
also? A new pair seem to me now to be in front, and a new charioteer
appeareth; the mares which led in the outward course must have been
thrown out there in the plain. For I saw them turning first the hither
post, but now can see them nowhere, though my eyes are gazing everywhere
along the Trojan plain. Did the reins escape the charioteer so that he
could not drive aright round the post and failed in the turn? There,
methinks, must he have been cast forth, and have broken his chariot, and
the mares must have left the course, in the wildness of their heart. But
stand up ye too and look, for myself I discern not certainly, but the
first man seemeth to me one of Aitolian race, and he ruleth among
Argives, the son of horse-taming Tydeus, stalwart Diomedes."

Then fleet Aias Oileus' son rebuked him in unseemly sort: "Idomeneus,
why art thou a braggart of old? As yet far off the high-stepping mares
are coursing over the wide plain. Neither art thou so far the youngest
among the Argives, nor do thy eyes look so far the keenliest from thy
head, yet continually braggest thou. It beseemeth thee not to be a
braggart, for there are here better men. And the mares leading are they
that led before, Eumelos' mares, and he standeth and holdeth the reins
within the car."

Then wrathfully in answer spake the chief of Cretans: "Aias, master of
railing, ill-counselled, in all else art thou behind other Argives, for
thy mind is unfriendly. Come then let us wager a tripod or caldron, and
make Agamemnon Atreus' son our umpire, which mares are leading, that
thou mayest pay and learn."

Thus said he, and straightway fleet Aias Oileus' son arose angrily to
answer with harsh words: and strife between the twain would have gone
further, had not Achilles himself stood up and spake a word: "No longer
answer each other with harsh words, Aias and Idomeneus, ill words, for
it beseemeth not. Surely ye are displeased with any other who should do
thus. Sit ye in the concourse and keep your eyes upon the horses; soon
they in zeal for victory will come hither, and then shall ye know each
of you the Argives' horses, which follow, and which lead."

He said, and the son of Tydeus came driving up, and with his lash smote
now and again from the shoulder, and his horses were stepping high as
they sped swiftly on their way. And sprinklings of dust smote ever the
charioteer, and his chariot overlaid with gold and tin ran behind his
fleet-footed steeds, and small trace was there of the wheel-tires behind
in the fine dust, as they flew speeding on. Then he drew up in the mid
concourse, and much sweat poured from the horses' heads and chests to
the ground. And Diomedes leapt to earth from the shining car, and leant
his lash against the yoke. Then stalwart Sthenelos tarried not, but
promptly took the prize, and gave to his proud comrades the woman to
lead and the eared tripod to bear away, and he loosed the horses from
the yoke.

And next after him drave Neleian Antilochos his horses, by craft, not
swiftness, having passed by Menelaos; yet even now Menelaos held his
swift steeds hard anigh. As far as a horse is from the wheel, which
draweth his master, straining with the car over the plain--his hindmost
tail-hairs touch the tire, for the wheel runneth hard anigh nor is much
space between, as he speedeth far over the plain--by so much was
Menelaos behind high-born Antilochos, howbeit at first he was a whole
disk-cast behind, but quickly he was catching Antilochos up, for the
high mettle of Agamemnon's mare, sleek-coated Aithe, was rising in her.
And if yet further both had had to run he would have passed his rival
nor left it even a dead heat. But Meriones, stout squire of Idomeneus,
came in a spear-throw behind famous Menelaos, for tardiest of all were
his sleek-coated horses, and slowest he himself to drive a chariot in
the race. Last of them all came Admetos' son, dragging his goodly car
driving his steeds in front. Him when fleet-footed noble Achilles beheld
he pitied him, and he stood up and spake winged words among the Argives:
"Last driveth his whole-hooved horses the best man of them all. But come
let us give him a prize, as is seemly, prize for the second place, but
the first let the son of Tydeus take."

Thus spake he, and all applauded that he bade. And he would have given
him the mare, for the Achaians applauded, had not Antilochos, son of
great-hearted Nestor; risen up and answered Peleian Achilles on behalf
of his right: "O Achilles, I shall be sore angered with thee if thou
accomplish this word, for thou art minded to take away my prize, because
thou thinkest of how his chariot and fleet steeds miscarried, and
himself withal, good man though he be. Nay, it behoved him to pray to
the Immortals, then would he not have come in last of all in the race.
But if thou pitiest him and he be dear to thy heart, there is much gold
in thy hut, bronze is there and sheep, hand-maids are there and
whole-hooved horses. Thereof take thou and give unto him afterward even
a richer prize, or even now at once, that the Achaians may applaud thee.
But the mare I will not yield; for her let what man will essay the
battle at my hands."

Thus spake he, and fleet-footed noble Achilles smiled, pleased with
Antilochos, for he was his dear comrade; and spake in answer to him
winged words: "Antilochos, if thou wouldst have me give Eumelos some
other thing beside from out my house, that also will I do. I will give
unto him a breast-plate that I took from Asteropaios, of bronze, whereon
a casting of bright tin is overlaid, and of great worth will it be to
him." He said, and bade his dear comrade Automedon bring it from the
hut, and he went and brought it. [Then he placed it in Eumelos' hands,
and he received it gladly.]

But Menelaos also arose among them, sore at heart, angered exceedingly
against Antilochos; and the herald set the staff in his hand, and called
for silence among the Argives; then spake among them that godlike man:
"Antilochos, who once wert wise, what thing is this thou hast done? Thou
hast shamed my skill and made my horses fail, thrusting thine own in
front that are far worse. Come now, ye chiefs and counsellors of the
Argives, give judgment between us both, and favour neither: lest some
one of the mail-clad Achalans say at any time: 'By constraining
Antilochos through false words hath Menelaos gone off with the mare, for
his horses were far worse, howbeit he hath advantage in rank and power.'
Nay, I myself will bring the issue about, and I deem that none other of
the Danaans shall reproach me, for the trial shall be just. Antilochos,
fosterling of Zeus, come thou hither and as it is ordained stand up
before thy horses and chariot and take in thy hand the pliant lash
wherewith thou dravest erst, and touching thy horses swear by the
Enfolder and Shaker of the earth that not wilfully didst thou hinder
my chariot by guile."

Then answered him wise Antilochos: "Bear with me now, for far younger am
I than thou, king Menelaos, and thou art before me and my better. Thou
knowest how a young man's transgressions come about, for his mind is
hastier and his counsel shallow. So let thy heart suffer me, and I will
of myself give to thee the mare I have taken. Yea, if thou shouldst ask
some other greater thing from my house, I were fain to give it thee
straightway, rather than fall for ever from my place in thy heart, O
fosterling of Zeus, and become a sinner against the gods."

Thus spake great-hearted Nestor's son, and brought the mare and put her
in the hand of Menelaos. And his heart was gladdened as when the dew
cometh upon the ears of ripening harvest-corn, what time the fields are
bristling. So gladdened was thy soul, Menelaos, within thy heart. And he
spake unto Antilochos and uttered winged words: "Antilochos, now will I
of myself put away mine anger against thee, since no wise formerly wert
thou flighty or light-minded, howbeit now thy reason was overcome of
youthfulness. Another time be loth to outwit better men. Not easily
should another of the Achaians have persuaded me, but thou hast suffered
and toiled greatly, and thy brave father and brother, for my sake:
therefore will I hearken to thy prayer, and will even give unto thee the
mare, though she is mine, that these also may know that my heart was
never overweening or implacable."

He said, and gave the mare to Noemon Antilochos' comrade to lead away,
and then took the shining caldron. And Meriones took up the two talents
of gold in the fourth place, as he had come in. So the fifth prize was
left unclaimed, a two-handled cup; to Nester gave Achilles this,
bearing it to him through the concourse of Argives, and stood by him and
said: "Lo now for thee too, old man, be this a treasure, a memorial of
Patroklos' burying; for no more shalt thou behold him among the Argives.
Now give I thee this prize unwon, for not in boxing shalt thou strive,
neither wrestle, nor enter on the javelin match, nor race with thy feet;
for grim old age already weigheth on thee."

Thus saying he placed it in his hand, and Nestor received it gladly, and
spake unto him winged words: "Ay, truly all this, my son, thou hast
meetly said; for no longer are my limbs, friend, firm, nor my feet, nor
do my arms at all swing lightly from my shoulders either side. Would
that my youth were such and my force so firm as when the Epeians were
burying lord Amarynkes at Buprasion, and his sons held the king's
funeral games. Then was no man found like me, neither of the Epeians nor
of the Pylians themselves or the great-hearted Aitolians. In boxing I
overcame Klytomedes, son of Enops, and in wrestling Ankaios of Pleuron,
who stood up against me, and in the foot-race I outran Iphiklos, a right
good man, and with the spear outthrew Phyleus and Polydoros; only in the
chariot-race the two sons of Aktor beat me [by crowding their horses in
front of me, jealous for victory, because the chief prizes were left at
home.] Now they were twins--one ever held the reins, the reins he ever
held, the other called on the horses with the lash. Thus was I once, but
now let younger men join in such feats; I must bend to grievous age, but
then was I of mark among heroes. But come hold funeral for thy comrade
too with with games. This gift do I accept with gladness, and my heart
rejoiceth that thou rememberest ever my friendship to thee--(nor forget
I thee)--and the honour wherewith it is meet that I be honoured among
the Achaians. And may the gods for this grant thee due grace."

Thus spake he, and Peleides was gone down the full concourse of
Achaians, when he had hearkened to all the thanks of Neleus' son. Then
he ordained prizes of the violent boxing match; a sturdy mule he led
forth and tethered amid the assembly, a six-year mule unbroken, hardest
of all to break; and for the loser set a two-handled cup. Then he stood
up and spake a word among the Argives: "Son of Atreus and ye other
well-greaved Achaians, for these rewards we summon two men of the best
to lift up their hands to box amain. He to whom Apollo shall grant
endurance to the end, and all the Achaians acknowledge it, let him take
the sturdy mule and return with her to his hut; and the loser shall take
with him the two-handled-cup."

Thus spake he, and forthwith arose a man great and valiant and skilled
in boxing, Epeios son of Panopeus, and laid his hand on the sturdy mule
and said aloud: "Let one come nigh to bear off the two-handled cup; the
mule I say none other of the Achaians shall take for victory with his
fists, for I claim to be the best man here. Sufficeth it not that I fall
short of you in battle? Not possible is it that in all arts a man be
skilled. Thus proclaim I, and it shall be accomplished: I will utterly
bruise mine adversary's flesh and break his bones, so let his friends
abide together here to bear him forth when vanquished by my hands."

Thus spake he, and they all kept deep silence. And alone arose against
him Euryalos, a godlike man, son of king Mekisteus the son of Talaos,
Mekisteus, who came on a time to Thebes when Oedipus had fallen, to his
burial, and there he overcame all the sons of Kadmos. Thus Tydeides
famous with the spear made ready Euryalos for the fight, cheering him
with speech, and greatly desired for him victory. And first he cast
about him a girdle, and next gave him well-cut thongs of the hide of an
ox of the field. And the two boxers being girt went into the midst of
the ring, and both lifting up their stalwart hands fell to, and their
hands joined battle grievously. Then was there terrible grinding of
teeth, and sweat flowed from all their limbs. And noble Epeios came on,
and as the other spied for an opening, smote him on the cheek, nor could
he much more stand, for his limbs failed straightway under him. And as
when beneath the North Wind's ripple a fish leapeth on a tangle-covered
beach, and then the black wave hideth it, so leapt up Euryalos at that
blow. But great-hearted Epeios took him in his hands and set him
upright, and his dear comrades stood around him, and led him through the
ring with trailing feet, spitting out clotted blood, drooping his head
awry, and they set him down in his swoon among them and themselves went
forth and fetched the two-handled cup.

Then Peleus' son ordained straightway the prizes for a third contest,
offering them to the Danaans, for the grievous wrestling match: for the
winner a great tripod for standing on the fire, prized by the Achaians
among them at twelve oxens' worth; and for the loser he brought a woman
into the midst, skilled in manifold work, and they prized her at four
oxen. And he stood up and spake a word among the Argives: "Rise, ye who
will essay this match."

Thus said he, and there arose great Aias son of Telamon, and Odysseus of
many wiles stood up, the crafty-minded. And the twain being girt went
into the midst of the ring, and clasped each the other in his arms with
stalwart hands, like gable rafters of a lofty house which some famed
craftsman joineth, that he may baffle the wind's force. And their backs
creaked, gripped firmly under the vigorous hands, and sweat ran down in
streams, and frequent weals along their ribs and shoulders sprang up,
red with blood, while ever they strove amain for victory, to win the
wrought tripod. Neither could Odysseus trip Aias and bear him to the
ground, nor Aias him, for Odysseus' strength withheld him. But when they
began to irk the well-greaved Achaians, then said to Odysseus great
Aias, Telamon's son: "Heaven-sprung son of Laertes, Odysseus of many
wiles, or lift thou me, or I will thee, and the issue shall be with

Having thus said he lifted him, but Odysseus was not unmindful of his
craft. He smote deftly from behind the hollow of Aias' knee, and loosed
his limbs, and threw him down backward, and Odysseus fell upon his
chest, and the folk gazed and marvelled. Then in his turn much-enduring
noble Odysseus tried to lift, and moved him a little from the ground,
but lifted him not, so he crooked his knee within the other's, and both
fell on the ground nigh to each other, and were soiled with dust, And
now starting up again a third time would they have wrestled, had not
Achilles himself arisen and held them back: "No longer press each the
other, nor wear you out with pain. Victory is with both; take equal
prizes and depart, that other Achaians may contend."

Thus spake he, and they were fain to hear and to obey, and wiped the
dust from them and put their doublets on.

Then straightway the son of Peleus set forth other prizes for fleetness
of foot; a mixing-bowl of silver, chased; six measures it held, and in
beauty it was far the best in all the earth, for artificers of Sidon
wrought it cunningly, and men of the Phoenicians brought it over the
misty sea, and landed it in harbour, and gave it a gift to Thoas; and
Euneos son of Jason gave it to the hero Patroklos a ransom for Lykaon
Priam's son. Now this cup did Achilles set forth as a prize in honour of
his friend, for whoso should be fleetest in speed of foot. For the
second he set an ox great and very fat, and for the last prize half a
talent of gold. And he stood up and spake a word among the Argives:
"Rise, ye who will essay this match."

Thus spake he, and straightway arose fleet Aias Oileus' son, and
Odysseus of many wiles, and after them Nestor's son Antilochos, for he
was best of all the youth in the foot-race. Then they stood side by
side, and Achilles showed to them the goal. Right eager was the running
from the start, but Oileus' son forthwith shot to the front, and close
behind him came noble Odysseus, as close as is a weaving-rod to a
fair-girdled woman's breast when she pulleth it deftly with her hands,
drawing the spool along the warp, and holdeth the rod nigh her breast--
so close ran Odysseus behind Aias and trod in his footsteps or ever the
dust had settled there, and on his head fell the breath of noble
Odysseus as he ran ever lightly on, and all the Achaians applauded his
struggle for the victory and called on him as he laboured hard. But when
they were running the last part of the course, forthwith Odysseus prayed
in his soul to bright-eyed Athene: "Hearken, goddess, come thou a good
helper of my feet."

Thus prayed he, and Pallas Athene hearkened to him, and made his limbs
feel light, both feet and hands. But when they, were now nigh darting on
the prize, then Aias slipped as he ran, for Athene marred his race,
where filth was strewn from the slaughter of loud-bellowing oxen that
fleet Achilles slew in honour of Patroklos: and Aias' mouth and nostrils
were filled with that filth of oxen. So much-enduring noble Odysseus, as
he came in first, took up the mixing-bowl, and famous Aias took the ox.
And he stood holding in his hand the horn of the ox of the field,
sputtering away the filth, and spake among the Argives: "Out on it, it
was the goddess who marred my running, she who from of old like a mother
standeth by Odysseus' side and helpeth him."

So spake he, but they all laughed pleasantly to behold him. Then
Antilochos smiling bore off the last prize, and spake his word among the
Argives: "Friends, ye will all bear me witness when I say that even
herein also the immortals favour elder men. For Aias is a little older
than I, but Odysseus of an earlier generation and earlier race of men. A
green old age is his, they say, and hard were it for any Achaian to
rival him in speed, save only Achilles."

Thus spake he, and gave honour to the fleet son of Peleus. And Achilles
answered him and said: "Antilochos, not unheeded shall thy praise be
given; a half-talent of gold I will give thee over and above." He said,
and set it in his hands, and Antilochos received it gladly.

Then Peleus' son brought and set in the ring a far-shadowing spear and a
chaldron that knew not the fire, an ox's worth, embossed with flowers;
and men that were casters of the javelin arose up. There rose Atreus'
son wide-ruling Agamemnon, and Meriones, Idomeneus' brave squire. And
swift-footed noble Achilles spake among them: "Son of Atreus, for that
we know how far thou excellest all, and how far the first thou art in
the might of thy throw, take thou this prize with thee to the hollow
ships, and to the hero Meriones let us give the spear, if thou art
willing in thy heart: thus I at least advise."

Thus spake he, nor disregarded him Agamemnon king of men. So to Meriones
he gave the spear of bronze, but to the herald Talthybios the hero gave
the goodliest prize.


How the body of Hector was ransomed, and of his funeral.

Then the assembly was broken up, and the tribes were scattered to betake
them each to their own swift ships. The rest bethought them of supper
and sweet sleep to have joy thereof; but Achilles wept, remembering his
dear comrade, nor did sleep that conquereth all take hold on him, but he
kept turning him to this side and to that, yearning for Patroklos'
manhood and excellent valour, and all the toils he achieved with him and
the woes he bare, cleaving the battles of men and the grievous waves. As
he thought thereon be shed big tears, now lying on his side, now on his
back, now on his face; and then anon he would arise upon his feet and
roam wildly beside the beach of the salt sea. Nor would he be unaware of
the Dawn when she arose over the sea and shores. But when he had yoked
the swift steeds to his car he would bind Hector behind his chariot to
drag him withal; and having thrice drawn him round the barrow of the
dead son of Menoitios he rested again in his hut, and left Hector lying
stretched on his face in the dust. But Apollo kept away all defacement
from his flesh, for he had pity on him even in death, and covered him
all with his golden aegis, that Achilles might not tear him when be
dragged him.

Thus Achilles in his anger entreated noble Hector shamefully; but the
blessed gods when they beheld him pitied him, and urged the
clear-sighted slayer of Argus to steal the corpse away. So to all the
others seemed it good, yet not to Hera or Poseidon or the bright-eyed
Maiden, but they continued as when at the beginning sacred Ilios became
hateful to them, and Priam and his people, by reason of the sin of
Alexandros in that he contemned those goddesses when they came to his
steading, and preferred her who brought him deadly lustfulness. But when
the twelfth morn from that day arose, then spake among the Immortals
Phoebus Apollo: "Hard of heart are ye, O gods, and cruel Hath Hector
never burnt for you thigh-bones of unblemished bulls and goats? Now have
ye not taken heart to rescue even his corpse for his wife to look upon
and his mother and his child and his father Priam and his people, who
speedily would burn him in the fire and make his funeral. But fell
Achilles, O gods, ye are fain to abet, whose mind is nowise just nor the
purpose in his breast to be turned away, but he is cruelly minded as a
lion that in great strength and at the bidding of his proud heart goeth
forth against men's flocks to make his meal; even thus Achilles hath
cast out pity, neither hath he shame, that doth both harm and profit men
greatly. It must be that many a man lose even some dearer one than was
this, a brother of the same womb born or perchance a son; yet bringeth
he his wailing and lamentation to an end, for an enduring soul have the
Fates given unto men. But Achilles after bereaving noble Hector of his
life bindeth him behind his horses and draggeth him around the tomb of
his dear comrade: not, verily, is that more honourable or better for
him. Let him take heed lest we wax wroth with him, good man though he
be, for in his fury he is entreating shamefully the senseless clay."

Then in anger spake unto him white-armed Hera: "Even thus mightest thou
speak, O Lord of the silver bow, if ye are to give equal honour to
Achilles and to Hector. Hector is but a mortal and was suckled at a
woman's breast, but Achilles is child of a goddess whom I myself bred up
and reared and gave to a man to be his wife, even to Peleus who was
dearest of all men to the Immortals' heart. And all ye gods came to her
bridal, and thou among them wert feasting with thy lyre, O lover of ill
company, faithless ever."

Then to her in answer spake Zeus who gathereth the clouds: "Hera, be not
wroth utterly with the gods: for these men's honour is not to be the
same, yet Hector also was dearest to the gods of all mortals that are in
Ilios. So was he to me at least, for nowise failed he in the gifts I
loved. Never did my altar lack seemly feast, drink-offering and the
steam of sacrifice, even the honour that falleth to our due. But verily
we will say no more of stealing away brave Hector, for it cannot be
hidden from Achilles, for his mother abideth ever nigh to him night and
day. But I were fain that some one of the gods would call Thetis to come
near to me, that I may speak unto her a wise word, so that Achilles may
take gifts from Priam and give Hector back." Thus spake he, and
airy-footed Iris sped forth upon the errand and between Samothrace and
rocky Imbros leapt into the black sea, and the waters closed above her
with a noise. And she sped to the bottom like a weight of lead that
mounted on horn of a field-ox goeth down bearing death to ravenous
fishes. And she found Thetis in a hollow cave; about her sat gathered
other goddesses of the seas and she in their midst was wailing for the
fate of her noble son who must perish in deep-soiled Troy, far from his
native land. And standing near, fleet-footed Iris spake to her: "Rise,
Thetis; Zeus of immortal counsels calleth thee."

And to her made answer Thetis the silver-footed goddess: "Wherefore
biddeth me that mighty god? I shrink from mingling among the Immortals,
for I have countless woes at heart. Yet go I, nor shall his word be in
vain, whatsoever he saith."

Thus having said the noble goddess took to her a dark-hued robe, no
blacker raiment was there found than that. Then she went forth, and
wind-footed swift Iris led the way before her, and around them the surge
of the sea was sundered. And when they had come forth upon the shore
they sped up to heaven, and found the far-seeing son of Kronos, and
round him sat gathered all the other blessed gods that are for ever.
Then she sat down beside father Zeus, and Athene gave her place. And
Hera set a fair golden cup in her hand and cheered her with words, and
Thetis drank, and gave back the cup. Then began speech to them the
father of gods and men: "Thou art come to Olympus, divine Thetis, in thy
sorrow, with violent grief at thy heart; I know it of myself.
Nevertheless will I tell thee wherefore I called thee hither. Nine days
hath dispute arisen among the Immortals concerning the corpse of Hector
and Achilles waster of cities. Fain are they to send clear-sighted
Hermes to steal the body away, but now hear what glory I accord herein
to Achilles, that I may keep through times to come thy honour and good
will. Go with all speed to the host and bear to thy son my bidding. Say
to him that the gods are displeased at him, and that I above all
Immortals am wroth, because with furious heart be holdeth Hector at the
beaked ships and hath not given him back, if haply he may fear me and
give Hector back. But I will send Iris to great-hearted Priam to bid him
go to the ships of the Achaians to ransom his dear son, and carry gifts
to Achilles that may gladden his heart."

Thus spake he, and Thetis the silver-footed goddess was not disobedient
to his word, and sped darting upon her way down from the peaks of
Olympus. And she came to her son's hut; there found she him making
grievous moan, and his dear comrades round were swiftly making ready and
furnishing their early meal, and a sheep great and fleecy was being
sacrificed in the hut. Then his lady-mother sate her down close beside
him, and stroked him with her hand and spake to him by his name: "My
child, how long with lamentation and woe wilt thou devour thine heart,
taking thought of neither food nor rest? good were even a woman's
embrace, for not long shalt thou be left alive to me; already death and
forceful fate are standing nigh thee. But hearken forthwith unto me, for
I am the messenger of Zeus to thee. He saith that the gods are
displeased at thee, and that himself above all Immortals is wroth,
because with furious heart thou holdest Hector at the beaked ships and
hast not given him back. But come restore him, and take ransom for the

Then to her in answer spake fleet-footed Achilles: "So be it: whoso
bringeth ransom let him take back the dead, if verily with heart's
intent the Olympian biddeth it himself."

So they in the assembly of the ships, mother and son, spake to each
other many winged words. But the son of Kronos thus bade Iris go to holy
Ilios: "Go forth, fleet Iris, leave the abode of Olympus and bear my
message within Ilios to great-hearted Priam that he go to the ships of
the Achaians and ransom his dear son and carry gifts to Achilles that
may gladden his heart; let him go alone, and no other man of the Trojans
go with him. Only let some elder herald attend on him to guide the mules
and smooth-wheeled waggon and carry back to the city the dead man whom
noble Achilles slew. Let not death be in his thought nor any fear; such
guide will we give unto him, even the slyer of Argus who shall lead him
until his leading bring him to Achilles. And when he shall have led him
within the hut, neither shall Achilles himself slay him nor suffer any
other herein, for not senseless is he or unforeseeing or wicked, but
with all courtesy he will spare a suppliant man."

Thus spake he, and airy-footed Iris sped forth upon the errand. And she
came to the house of Priam, and found therein crying and moan. His
children sitting around their father within the court were bedewing
their raiment with their tears, and the old man in their midst was close
wrapped all over in his cloak; and on his head and neck was much mire
that he had gathered in his hands as he grovelled upon the earth. And
his daughters and his sons' wives were wailing throughout the house,
bethinking them of all those valiant men who had lost their lives at the
hands of the Argives and were lying low. And the messenger of Zeus stood
beside Priam and spake softly unto him, and trembling came upon his
limbs: "Be of good cheer in thy heart, O Priam son of Dardanos, and be
not dismayed for anything, for no evil come I hither to forebode to
thee, but with good will. I am the messenger of Zeus to thee, who,
though he be afar off, hath great care and pity for thee. The Olympian
biddeth thee ransom noble Hector and carry gifts to Achilles that may
gladden his heart: go thou alone, let none other of the Trojans go with
thee. Only let some elder herald attend on thee to guide the mules and
the smooth-wheeled waggon to carry back to the city the dead man whom
noble Achilles slew. Let not death be in thy thought, nor any fear; such
guide shall go with thee, even the slayer of Argus, who shall lead thee
until his leading bring thee to Achilles. And when he shall have led
thee into the hut, neither shall Achilles himself slay thee, nor suffer
any other herein, for not senseless is he or unforeseeing or wicked, but
with all courtesy he will spare a suppliant man."

Thus having spoken fleet Iris departed from him; and he bade his sons
make ready the smooth-wheeled mule waggon, and bind the wicker carriage
thereon. And himself he went down to his fragrant chamber, of cedar
wood, high-roofed, that held full many jewels: and to Hekabe his wife he
called and spake: "Lady, from Zeus hath an Olympian messenger come to
me, that I go to the ships of the Achaians and ransom my dear son, and
carry gifts to Achilles that may gladden his heart. Come tell me how
seemeth it to thy mind, for of myself at least my desire and heart bid
me mightily to go thither to the ships and enter the wide camp of the

Thus spake he, but his wife lamented aloud and made answer to him: "Woe
is me, whither is gone thy mind whereby aforetime thou wert famous among
stranger men and among them thou rulest? How art thou fain to go alone
to the ships of the Achaians, to meet the eyes of the man who hath slain
full many of thy brave sons? of iron verily is thy heart. For if he
light on thee and behold thee with his eyes, a savage and ill-trusted
man is this, and he will not pity thee, neither reverence thee at all.
Nay, now let us sit in the hall and make lament afar off. Even thus did
forceful Fate erst spin for Hector with her thread at his beginning when
I bare him, even I, that he should glut fleet-footed dogs, far from his
parents, in the dwelling of a violent man whose inmost vitals I were
fain to fasten and feed upon; then would his deeds against my son be
paid again to him, for not playing the coward was he slain of him, but
championing the men and deep-bosomed women of Troy, neither bethought he
him of shelter or of flight."

The to her in answer spake the old man godlike Priam: "Stay me not, for
I am fain to go, neither be thyself a bird of ill boding in my halls,
for thou wilt not change my mind. Were it some other and a child of
earth that bade me this, whether some seer or of the priests that divine
from sacrifice, then would we declare it false and have no part
therein; but now, since I have heard the voice of the goddess myself and
looked upon her face, I will go forth, and her word shall not be void.
And if it be my fate to die by the ships of the mail-clad Achaians, so
would I have it; let Achilles slay me with all speed, when once I have
taken in my arms my son, and have satisfied my desire with moan."

He spake, and opened fair lids of chests wherefrom he chose twelve very
goodly women's robes and twelve cloaks of single fold and of coverlets a
like number and of fair sheets, and of doublets thereupon. And he
weighed and brought forth talents of gold ten in all, and two shining
tripods and four caldrons, and a goblet exceeding fair that men of
Thrace had given him when he went thither on an embassy, a chattel of
great price, yet not that even did the old man grudge from his halls,
for he was exceeding fain at heart to ransom his dear son. Then he drave
out all the Trojans from the colonnade, chiding them with words of
rebuke: "Begone, ye that dishonour and do me shame! Have ye no mourning
of your own at home that ye come to vex me here? Think ye it a small
thing that Zeus Kronos' son hath given me this sorrow, to lose him that
was the best man of my sons? Nay, but ye too shall feel it, for easier
far shall ye be to the Achaians to slay now he is dead. But for me, ere
I behold with mine eyes the city sacked and wasted, let me go down into
the house of Hades."

He said, and with his staff chased forth the men, and they went forth
before the old man in his haste. Then he called unto his sons, chiding
Helenos and Paris and noble Agathon and Pammon and Antiphonos, and
Polites of the loud war-cry, and Deiphobos and Hippothoos and proud
Dios; nine were they whom the old man called and bade unto him: "Haste
ye, ill sons, my shame; would that ye all in Hector's stead had been
slain at the swift ships! Woe is me all unblest, since I begat sons the
best men in wide Troy-land, but none of them is left for me to claim,
neither godlike Mestor, nor Troilos with his chariot of war, nor Hector
who was a god among men, neither seemed he as the son of a mortal man
but of a god:--all these hath Ares slain, and here are my shames all
left to me, false-tongued, light-heeled, the heroes of dance, plunderers
of your own people's sheep and kids. Will ye not make me ready a wain
with all speed, and lay all these thereon, that we get us forward on our

Thus spake he, and they fearing their father's voice brought forth the
smooth-running mule chariot, fair and new, and bound the body thereof on
the frame; and from its peg they took down the mule yoke, a boxwood yoke
with knob well fitted with guiding-rings; and they brought forth the
yoke-band of nine cubits with the yoke. The yoke they set firmly on the
polished pole on the rest at the end thereof, and slipped the ring over
the upright pin, which with three turns of the band they lashed to the
knob, and then belayed it close round the pole and turned the tongue
thereunder. Then they brought from the chamber and heaped on the
polished wain the countless ransom of Hector's head, and yoked
strong-hooved harness mules, which on a time the Mysians gave to Priam,
a splendid gift. But to Priam's car they yoked the horses that the old
man kept for his use and reared at the polished crib.

Thus in the high palace were Priam and the herald letting yoke their
cars, with wise thoughts at their hearts, when nigh came Hekabe sore at
heart, with honey-sweet wine in her right hand in a golden cup that they
might make libation ere they went. And she stood before the horses and
spake a word to Priam by name: "Lo now make libation to father Zeus and
pray that thou mayest come back home from among the enemy, since thy
heart speedeth thee forth to the ships, though fain were I thou wentest
not. And next pray to Kronion of the Storm-cloud, the gods of Ida, that
beholdeth all Troy-land beneath, and ask of him a bird of omen, even the
swift messenger that is dearest of all birds to him and of mightiest
strength, to appear upon thy right, that seeing the sign with thine own
eyes thou mayest go in trust thereto unto the ships of the fleet-horsed
Danaans. But if far-seeing Zeus shall not grant unto thee his messenger,
I at least shall not bid thee on to go among the ships of the Achaians
how fain soever thou mayest be."

Then answered and spake unto her godlike Priam: "Lady, I will not
disregard this hest of thine, for good it is to lift up hands to Zeus,
if haply he will have pity."

Thus spake the old man, and bade a house-dame that served him pour pure
water on his hands; and she came near to serve him with water in a ewer
to wash withal. And when he had washed his hands he took a goblet from
his wife: then he stood in the midst of the court and prayed and poured
forth wine as he looked up to heaven, and spake a word aloud: "Father
Zeus that bearest sway from Ida, most glorious and most great, grant
that I find welcome and pity under Achilles' roof, and send a bird of
omen, even the swift messenger that is dearest of all birds to thee and
of mightiest strength, to appear upon the right, that seeing this sign
with mine eyes I may go trusting therein unto the ships of the
fleet-horsed Danaans."

Thus spake he praying, and Zeus of wise counsels hearkened unto him, and
straightway sent forth an eagle, surest omen of winged birds, the dusky
hunter called of men the Black Eagle. Wide as the door, well locking,
fitted close, of some rich man's high-roofed hall, so wide were his
wings either way; and he appeared to them speeding on the right hand
above the city. And when they saw the eagle they rejoiced and all their
hearts were glad within their breasts.

Then the old man made haste to go up into his car, and drave forth from
the doorway and the echoing portico. In front the mules drew the
four-wheeled wain, and wise Idaios drave them; behind came the horses
which the old man urged with the lash at speed along the city: and his
friends all followed lamenting loud as though he were faring to his
death. And when they were come down from the city and were now on the
plain, then went back again to Ilios his sons and marriage kin. But the
two coming forth upon the plain were not unbeheld of far-seeing Zeus.
But he looked upon the old man and had compassion on him, and
straightway spake unto Hermes his dear son: "Hermes, since unto thee
especially is it dear to companion men, and thou hearest whomsoever thou
wilt, go forth and so guide Priam to the hollow ships of the Achaians
that no man behold or be aware of him, among all the Danaans' host,
until he come to the son of Peleus."

Thus spake he, and the Messenger, the slayer of Argus, was not
disobedient unto his word. Straightway beneath his feet he bound on his
fair sandals, golden, divine, that bare him over wet sea and over the
boundless land with the breathings of the wind. And he took up his wand
wherewith he entranceth the eyes of such men as he will, and others he
likewise waketh out of sleep: this did the strong slayer of Argus take
in his hand, and flew. And quickly came he to Troy-land and the
Hellespont, and went on his way in semblance as a young man that is
a prince, with the new down on his chin, as when the youth of men is
the comeliest.

Now the others, when they had driven beyond the great barrow of Ilios,
halted the mules and horses at the river to drink; for darkness was come
down over the earth. Then the herald beheld Hermes from hard by, and
marked him, and spake and said to Priam: "Consider, son of Dardanos;
this is matter of prudent thought. I see a man, methinks we shall full
soon be rent in pieces. Come, let us flee in our chariot, or else at
least touch his knees and entreat him that he have mercy on us."

Thus spake he, and the old man was confounded, and he was dismayed
exceedingly, and the hair on his pliant limbs stood up, and he stood
still amazed. But the Helper came nigh of himself and took the old man's
hand, and spake and questioned him: "Whither, father, dost thou thus
guide these horses and mules through the divine night, when other
mortals are asleep? Hadst thou no fear of the fierce-breathing Achaians,
thy bitter foes that are hard anigh thee? If one of them should espy
thee carrying such treasures through the swift black night, what then
would be thy thought? Neither art thou young thyself, and thy companion
here is old, that ye should make defence against a man that should
assail thee first. But I will no wise harm thee, yea I will keep any
other from thy hurt: for the similitude of my dear father I see in

And to him in answer spake the old man, godlike Priam: "Even so, kind
son, are all these things as thou sayest. Nevertheless hath some god
stretched forth his hand even over me in that he hath sent a wayfarer
such as thou to meet me, a bearer of good luck, by the nobleness of thy
form and semblance; and thou art wise of heart and of blessed parents
art thou sprung."

And to him again spake the Messenger, the slayer of Argus: "All this,
old sire, hast thou verily spoken aright. But come say this and tell me
truly whether thou art taking forth a great and goodly treasure unto
alien men, where it may abide for thee in safety, or whether by this ye
are all forsaking holy Ilios in fear; so far the best man among you hath
perished, even thy son; for of battle with the Achaians abated he never
a jot."

And to him in answer spake the old man, godlike Priam, "Who art thou,
noble sir, and of whom art born? For meetly hast thou spoken of the fate
of my hapless son."

And to him again spake the Messenger, the slayer of Argus: "Thou art
proving me, old sire, in asking me of noble Hector. Him have I full oft
seen with mine eyes in glorious battle, and when at the ships he was
slaying the Argives he drave thither, piercing them with the keen
bronze, and we stood still and marvelled thereat, for Achilles suffered
us not to fight, being wroth against Atreus' son. His squire am I, and
came in the same well-wrought ship. From the Myrmidons I come, and my
father is Polyktor. Wealthy is he, and an old man even as thou, and six
other sons hath he, and I am his seventh. With the others I cast lots,
and it fell to me to fare hither with the host. And now am I come from
the ships to the plain, for at day-break the glancing-eyed Achaians will
set the battle in array around the town. For it chafeth them to be
sitting here, nor can the Achaian lords hold in their fury for the

And the old man, godlike Priam, answered him, saying: "If verily thou
art a squire of Achilles Peleus' son, come tell me all the truth,
whether still my son is by the ships, or whether ere now Achilles hath
riven him limb from limb and cast him to the dogs."

Then to him again spake the Messenger the slayer of Argus: "Old sire,
not yet have dogs or birds devoured him, but there lieth he still by
Achilles' ship, even as he fell, among the huts, and the twelfth morn
now hath risen upon him, nor doth his flesh corrupt at all, neither
worms consume it, such as devour men slain in war. Truly Achilles
draggeth him recklessly around the barrow of his dear comrade so oft as
divine day dawneth, yet marreth he him not; thou wouldst marvel if thou
couldst go see thyself how dewy fresh he lieth, and is washed clean of
blood, nor anywhere defiled; and all his wounds wherewith he was
stricken are closed; howbeit many of thy son, though he be but a dead
corpse, for they held him dear at heart."

Thus spake he, and the old man rejoiced, and answered him, saying: "My
son, it is verily a good thing to give due offerings withal to the
Immortals, for never did my child--if that child indeed I had--forget
in our halls the gods who inhabit Olympus. Therefore have they
remembered this for him, albeit his portion is death. But come now take
from me this goodly goblet, and guard me myself and guide me, under
Heaven, that I may come unto the hut of Peleus' son."

Then spake unto him again the Messenger the slayer of Argus: "Thou art
proving me, old sire, who am younger than thou, but thou wilt not
prevail upon me, in that thou biddest me take gifts from thee without
Achilles' privity. I were afraid and shamed at heart to defraud him,
lest some evil come to pass on me hereafter. But as thy guide I would go
even unto famous Argos, accompanying thee courteously in swift ship or
on foot. Not from scorn of thy guide would any assail thee then."

Thus spake the Helper, and leaping on the chariot behind the horses he
swiftly took lash and reins into his hand, and breathed brave spirit
into horses and mules. But when they were come to the towers and trench
of the ships, there were the sentinels just busying them about their
supper. Then the Messenger, the slayer of Argus, shed sleep upon them
all, and straightway opened the gates and thrust back the bars, and
brought within Priam and the splendid gifts upon his wain. And they came
to the lofty hut of the son of Peleus, which the Myrmidons made for
their king and hewed therefor timber of the pine, and thatched it with
downy thatching-rush that they mowed in the meadows, and around it made
for him their lord a great court with close-set palisades; and the door
was barred by a single bolt of pine that three Achaians wont to drive
home, and three drew back that mighty bar--three of the rest, but
Achilles by himself would drive it home. Then opened the Helper Hermes
the door for the old man, and brought in the splendid gifts for Peleus'
fleet-footed son, and descended from the chariot to the earth and spake
aloud: "Old sire, I that have come to thee am an immortal god, even
Hermes, for my father sent me to companion thee on thy way. But now
will I depart from thee nor come within Achilles' sight; it were cause
of wrath that an immortal god should thus show favour openly unto
mortals. But thou go in and clasp the knees of Peleus' son and entreat
him for his father's sake and his mother's of the lovely hair and for
his child's sake that thou mayest move his soul."

Thus Hermes spake, and departed unto high Olympus. But Priam leapt from
the car to the earth, and left Idaios in his place; he stayed to mind
the horses and mules; but the old man made straight for the house where
Achilles dear to Zeus was wont to sit. And therein he found the man
himself, and his comrades sate apart: two only, the hero Automedon and
Alkimos, of the stock of Ares, were busy in attendance; and he was
lately ceased from meat, even from eating and drinking: and still the
table stood beside him. But they were unaware of great Priam as he came
in, and so stood he anigh and clasped in his hands the knees of
Achilles, and kissed his hands, terrible, man-slaying, that slew many of
Priam's sons. And as when a grievous curse cometh upon a man who in his
own country hath slain another and escapeth to a land of strangers, to
the house of some rich man, and wonder possesseth them that look on
him--so Achilles wondered when he saw godlike Priam, and the rest
wondered likewise, and looked upon one another. Then Priam spake and
entreated him, saying: "Bethink thee, O Achilles like to gods, of thy
father that is of like years with me, on the grievous pathway of old
age. Him haply are the dwellers round about entreating evilly, nor is
there any to ward from him ruin and bane. Nevertheless while he heareth
of thee as yet alive he rejoiceth in his heart, and hopeth withal day
after day that he shall see his dear son returning from Troy-land. But
I, I am utterly unblest, since I begat sons the best men in wide
Troy-land, but declare unto thee that none of them is left. Fifty I had,
when the sons of the Achaians came; nineteen were born to me of one
mother, and concubines bare the rest within my halls. Now of the more
part had impetuous Ares unstrung the knees, and he who was yet left and
guarded city and men, him slewest thou but now as he fought for his
country, even Hector. For his sake come I unto the ships of the Achaians
that I may win him back from thee, and I bring with me untold ransom.
Yea, fear thou the gods, Achilles, and have compassion on me, even me,
bethinking thee of thy father. Lo, I am yet more piteous than he, and
have braved what none other man on earth hath braved before, to stretch
forth my hand toward the face of the slayer of my sons."

Thus spake he, and stirred within Achilles desire to make lament for his
father. And he touched the old man's hand and gently moved him back. And
as they both bethought them of their dead, so Priam for man-slaying
Hector wept sore as he was fallen before Achilles' feet, and Achilles
wept for his own father, and now again for Patroklos, and their moan
went up throughout the house. But when noble Achilles had satisfied him
with lament, and the desire thereof departed from his heart and limbs,
straightway he sprang from his seat and raised the old man by his hand,
pitying his hoary head and hoary beard, and spake unto him winged words
and said: "Ah hapless! many ill things verily thou hast endured in thy
heart. How durst thou come alone to the ships of the Achaians and to
meet the eyes of the man who hath slain full many of the brave sons? of
iron verily is thy heart. But come then set thee on a seat, and we will
let our sorrows lie quiet in our hearts for all our pain, for no avail
cometh of chill lament. This is the lot the gods have spun for miserable
men, that they should live in pain; yet themselves are sorrowless. For
two urns stand upon the floor of Zeus filled with his evil gifts, and
one with blessings. To whomsoever Zeus whose joy is in the lightning
dealeth a mingled lot, that man chanceth now upon ill and now again on
good, but to whom he giveth but of the bad kind him he bringeth to
scorn, and evil famine chaseth him over the goodly earth, and he is a
wanderer honoured of neither gods nor men. Even thus to Peleus gave the
gods splendid gifts from his birth, for he excelled all men in good
fortune and wealth, and was king of the Myrmidons, and mortal though he
was the gods gave him a goddess to be his bride. Yet even on him God
brought evil, seeing that there arose to him no offspring of princely
sons in his halls, save that he begat one son to an untimely death.
Neither may I tend him as he groweth old, since very far from my country
I am dwelling in Troy-land, to vex thee and thy children. And of thee,
old sire, we have heard how of old time thou wert happy, even how of all
that Lesbos, seat of Makar, boundeth to the north thereof and Phrygia
farther up and the vast Hellespont--of all these folk, men say, thou
wert the richest in wealth and in sons, but after that the Powers of
Heaven brought this bane on thee, ever are battles and man-slayings
around thy city. Keep courage, and lament not unabatingly in thy heart.
For nothing wilt thou avail by grieving for thy son, neither shalt thou
bring him back to life or ever some new evil come upon thee."

Then made answer unto him the old man, godlike Priam: "Bid me not to a
seat, O fosterling of Zeus, so long as Hector lieth uncared for at the
huts, but straightway give him back that I may behold him with mine
eyes; and accept thou the great ransom that we bring. So mayest thou
have pleasure thereof, and come unto thy native land, since thou hast
spared me from the first."

Then fleet-footed Achilles looked sternly upon him and said: "No longer
chafe me, old sire; of myself am I minded to give Hector back to thee,
for there came to me a messenger from Zeus, even my mother who bare me,
daughter of the Ancient One of the Sea. And I know, O Priam, in my mind,
nor am unaware that some god it is that hath guided thee to the swift
ships of the Achaians. For no mortal man, even though in prime of youth,
would dare to come among the host, for neither could he escape the
watch, nor easily thrust back the bolt of our doors. Therefore now stir
my heart no more amid my troubles, lest I leave not even thee in peace,
old sire, within my hut, albeit thou art my suppliant, and lest I
transgress the commandment of Zeus."

Thus spake he, and the old man feared, and obeyed his word. And the son
of Peleus leapt like a lion through the door of the house, not alone,
for with him went two squires, the hero Automedon and Alkimos, they whom
above all his comrades Achilles honoured, save only Patroklos that was
dead. They then loosed from under the yoke the horses and mules, and led
in the old man's crier-herald and set him on a chair, and from the wain
of goodly felloes they took the countless ransom set on Hector's head.
But they left two robes and a well-spun doublet, that Achilles might
wrap the dead therein when he gave him to be carried home. And he called
forth handmaids and bade them wash and anoint him when they had borne
him apart, so that Priam should not look upon his son, lest he should
not refrain the wrath at his sorrowing heart when he should look upon
his son, and lest Achilles' heart be vexed thereat and he slay him and
transgress the commandment of Zeus. So when the handmaids had washed the
body and anointed it with oil, and had thrown over it a fair robe and a
doublet, then Achilles himself lifted it and laid it on a bier, and his
comrades with him lifted it on to the polished waggon. Then he groaned
aloud and called on his dear comrade by his name: "Patroklos, be not
vexed with me if thou hear even in the house of Hades that I have given
back noble Hector unto his dear father, for not unworthy is the ransom
he hath given me, whereof I will deal to thee again thy rightful share."

Thus spake noble Achilles, and went back into the hut, and sate him down
on the cunningly-wrought couch whence he had arisen by the opposite
wall, and spake a word to Priam: "Thy son, old sire, is given back as
thou wouldest and lieth on a bier, and with the break of day thou shalt
see him thyself as thou carriest him. But now bethink we us of supper.
For even fair-haired Niobe bethought her of meat, she whose twelve
children perished in her halls, six daughters and six lusty sons. The
sons Apollo, in his anger against Niobe, slew with arrows from his
silver bow, and the daughters archer Artemis, for that Niobe matched
herself against fair-cheeked Leto, saying that the goddess bare but
twain but herself many children: so they though they were but twain
destroyed the other all. Nine days they lay in their blood, nor was
there any to bury them, for Kronion turned the folk to stones. Yet on

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