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many charioteers drive their swift steeds against the hollow ships, and
I will go before and make smooth all the way for the chariots, and will
put to flight the Achaian heroes."

So he spake, and breathed great might into the shepherd of the host, and
even as when a stalled horse, full fed at the manger, breaks his tether
and speedeth at the gallop over the plain exultingly, being wont to
bathe in the fair-flowing stream, and holds his head on high, and the
mane floweth about his shoulders, and he trusteth in his glory, and
nimbly his knees bear him to the haunts and pasture of the mares, even
so Hector lightly moved his feet and knees, urging on his horsemen, when
he heard the voice of the god. But as when hounds and country folk
pursue a horned stag, or a wild goat, that steep rock and shady wood
save from them, nor is it their lot to find him, but at their clamour a
bearded lion hath shown himself on the way, and lightly turned them all
despite their eagerness, even so the Danaans for a while followed on
always in their companies, smiting with swords and double-pointed
spears, but when they saw Hector going up and down the ranks of men,
then were they afraid, and the hearts of all fell to their feet.

Then to them spake Thoas, son of Andraimon, far the best of the
Aitolians, skilled in throwing the dart, and good in close fight, and in
council did few of the Achaians surpass him, when the young men were
striving in debate; he made harangue and spake among them: "Alas, and
verily a great marvel is this I behold with mine eyes, how he hath again
arisen, and hath avoided the Fates, even Hector. Surely each of us hoped
in his heart, that he had died beneath the hand of Aias, son of Telamon.
But some one of the gods again hath delivered and saved Hector, who
verily hath loosened the knees of many of the Danaans, as methinks will
befall even now, for not without the will of loud-thundering Zeus doth
he rise in the front ranks, thus eager for battle. But come, as I
declare let us all obey. Let us bid the throng turn back to the ships,
but let us as many as avow us to be the best in the host, take our
stand, if perchance first we may meet him, and hold him off with
outstretched spears, and he, methinks, for all his eagerness, will fear
at heart to enter into the press of the Danaans."

So spake he, and they heard him eagerly, and obeyed him. They that were
with Aias and the prince Idomeneus, and Teukros, and Neriones, and Meges
the peer of Ares, called to all the best of the warriors and sustained
the fight with Hector and the Trojans, but behind them the multitude
returned to the ships of the Achaians.

Now the Trojans drave forward in close ranks, and with long strides
Hector led them, while in front of him went Phoebus Apollo, his
shoulders wrapped in cloud, and still he held the fell aegis, dread,
circled with a shaggy fringe, and gleaming, that Hephaistos the smith
gave to Zeus, to bear for the terror of men; with this in his hands did
he lead the host.

Now the Argives abode them in close ranks, and shrill the cry arose on
both sides, and the arrows leaped from the bow-strings, and many spears
from stalwart hands, whereof some stood fast in the flesh of young men
swift in fight, but many halfway, ere ever they reached the white flesh,
stuck in the ground, longing to glut themselves with flesh. Now so long
as Phoebus Apollo held the aegis unmoved in his hands, so long the darts
smote either side amain, and the folk fell. But when he looked face to
face on the Danaans of the swift steeds, and shook the aegis, and
himself shouted mightily, he quelled their heart in their breast, and
they forgot their impetuous valour. And as when two wild beasts drive in
confusion a herd of kine, or a great flock of sheep, in the dark hour of
black night, coming swiftly on them when the herdsman is not by, even so
were the Achaians terror-stricken and strengthless, for Apollo sent a
panic among them, but still gave renown to the Trojans and Hector.

And Hector smote his horses on the shoulder with the lash, and called
aloud on the Trojans along the ranks. And they all cried out, and level
with his held the steeds that drew their chariots, with a marvellous
din, and in front of them Phoebus Apollo lightly dashed down with his
feet the banks of the deep ditch, and cast them into the midst thereof,
making a bridgeway long and wide as is a spear-cast, when a man throws
to make trial of his strength. Thereby the Trojans poured forward in
their battalions, while in their van Apollo held the splendid aegis. And
most easily did he cast down the wall of the Achaians, as when a boy
scatters the sand beside the sea, first making sand buildings for sport
in his childishness, and then again, in his sport, confounding them with
his feet and hands; even so didst thou, archer Apollo, confound the long
toil and labour of the Argives, and among them rouse a panic fear.

So they were halting, and abiding by the ships, calling each to other;
and lifting their hands to all the gods did each man pray vehemently,
and chiefly prayed Nestor, the Warden of the Achaians, stretching his
hand towards the starry heaven: "O father Zeus, if ever any one of us in
wheat-bearing Argos did burn to thee fat thighs of bull or sheep, and
prayed that he might return, and thou didst promise and assent thereto,
of these things be thou mindful, and avert, Olympian, the pitiless day,
nor suffer the Trojans thus to overcome the Achaians."

So spake he in his prayer, and Zeus, the Lord of counsel, thundered
loudly, hearing the prayers of the ancient son of Neleus.

But the Trojans when they heard the thunder of aegis-bearing Zeus,
rushed yet the more eagerly upon the Argives, and were mindful of the
joy of battle. And as when a great wave of the wide sea sweeps over the
bulwarks of a ship, the might of the wind constraining it, which chiefly
swells the waves, even so did the Trojans with a great cry bound over
the wall, and drave their horses on, and at the hindmost row of the
ships were fighting hand to hand with double-pointed spears, the Trojans
from the chariots, but the Achaians climbing up aloft, from the black
ships with long pikes that they had lying in the ships for battle at
sea, jointed pikes shod at the head with bronze.

Now the Trojans, like ravening lions, rushed upon the ships, fulfilling
the behests of Zeus, that ever was rousing their great wrath, but
softened the temper of the Argives, and took away their glory, while he
spurred on the others. For the heart of Zeus was set on giving glory to
Hector, the son of Priam, that withal he might cast fierce-blazing fire,
unwearied, upon the beaked ships, and so fulfil all the presumptuous
prayer of Thetis; wherefore wise-counselling Zeus awaited, till his eyes
should see the glare of a burning ship. For even from that hour was he
to ordain the backward chase of the Trojans from the ships, and to give
glory to the Danaans. With this design was he rousing Hector, Priam's
son, that himself was right eager, against the hollow ships. For short
of life was he to be, yea, and already Pallas Athene was urging against
him the day of destiny, at the hand of the son of Peleus. And fain he
was to break the ranks of men, trying them wheresoever he saw the
thickest press, and the goodliest harness. Yet not even so might he
break them for all his eagerness. Nay, they stood firm, and embattled
like a steep rock and a great, hard by the hoary sea, a rock that abides
the swift paths of the shrill winds, and the swelling waves that roar
against it. Even so the Danaans steadfastly abode the Trojans and fled
not away. But Hector shining with fire on all sides leaped on the
throng, and fell upon them, as when beneath the storm-clouds a fleet
wave reared of the winds falls on a swift ship, and she is all hidden
with foam, and the dread blast of the wind roars against the sail, and
the sailors fear, and tremble in their hearts, for by but a little way
are they borne forth from death, even so the spirit was torn in the
breasts of the Achaians.

So again keen battle was set by the ships. Thou wouldst deem that
unwearied and unworn they met each other in war, so eagerly they fought.
And in their striving they were minded thus; the Achaians verily deemed
that never would they flee from the danger, but perish there, but the
heart of each Trojan hoped in his breast, that they should fire the
ships, and slay the heroes of the Achaians. With these imaginations they
stood to each other, and Hector seized the stern of a seafaring ship, a
fair ship, swift on the brine, that had borne Protesilaos to Troia, but
brought him not back again to his own country. Now round his ship the
Achaians and Trojans warred on each other hand to hand, nor far apart
did they endure the flights of arrows, nor of darts, but standing hard
each by other, with one heart, with sharp axes and hatchets they fought,
and with great swords, and double-pointed spears. And many fair brands,
dark-scabbarded and hilted, fell to the ground, some from the hands,
some from off the shoulders of warring men, and the black earth ran with
blood. But Hector, after that once he had seized the ship's stern, left
not his hold, keeping the ensign in his hands, and he called to the
Trojans: "Bring fire, and all with one voice do ye raise the war-cry;
now hath Zeus given us the dearest day of all, - to take the ships that
came hither against the will of the gods, and brought many woes upon us,
by the cowardice of the elders, who withheld me when I was eager to
fight at the sterns of the ships, and kept back the host. But if even
then far-seeing Zeus did harm our wits, now he himself doth urge and
command us onwards." So spake he, and they set yet the fiercer on the
Argives. And Aias no longer abode their onset, for he was driven back by
the darts, but he withdrew a little, - thinking that now he should
die, - on to the oarsman's bench of seven feet long, and he left the
decks of the trim ship. There then he stood on the watch, and with his
spear he ever drave the Trojans from the ships, whosoever brought
unwearied fire, and ever he shouted terribly, calling to the Danaans: "O
friends, Danaan heroes, men of Ares' company, play the man, my friends,
and be mindful of impetuous valour. Do we deem that there be allies at
our backs, or some wall stronger than this to ward off death from men?
Verily there is not hard by any city arrayed with towers, whereby we
might defend ourselves, having a host that could turn the balance of
battle. Nay, but we are set down in the plain of the mailed men of Troy,
with our backs against the sea, and far off from our own land. Therefore
is safety in battle, and not in slackening from the fight." So spake he,
and rushed on ravening for battle, with his keen spear. And whosoever of
the Trojans was coming against the ship with blazing fire, to pleasure
Hector at his urging, him would Aias wound, awaiting him with his long
spear, and twelve men in front of the ships at close quarters did he


How Patroklos fought in the armour of Achilles, and drove
the Trojans from the ships, but was slain at last by Hector.

So they were warring round the well-timbered ship, but Patroklos drew
near Achilles, shepherd of the host, and he shed warm tears, even as a
fountain of dark water that down a steep cliff pours its cloudy stream.
And noble swift-footed Achilles when he beheld him was grieved for his
sake, and accosted him, and spake winged words, saying: "Wherefore
weepest thou, Patroklos, like a fond little maid, that runs by her
mother's side, and bids her mother take her up, snatching at her gown,
and hinders her in her going, and tearfully looks at her, till the
mother takes her up? like her, Patroklos, dost thou let fall soft tears.
Hast thou aught to tell to the Myrmidons, or to me myself, or is it some
tidings out of Phthia that thou alone hast beard? Or dost thou lament
for the sake of the Argives, - how they perish by the hollow ships
through their own transgression? Speak out, and hide it not within thy
spirit, that we may both know all."

But with a heavy groan didst thou speak unto him, O knight Patroklos: "O
Achilles, son of Peleus, far the bravest of the Achaians, be not wroth,
seeing that so great calamity has beset the Achaians. For verily all of
them that aforetime were the best are lying among the ships, smitten and
wounded. Smitten is the son of Tydeus, strong Diomedes, and wounded is
Odysseus, spearman renowned, and Agamemnon; and smitten is Eurypylos on
the thigh with an arrow. And about them the leeches skilled in medicines
are busy, healing their wounds, but thou art hard to reconcile,
Achilles. Never then may such wrath take hold of me as that thou
nursest; thou brave to the hurting of others. What other men later born
shall have profit of thee, if thou dost not ward off base ruin from the
Argives? Pitiless that thou art, the knight Peleus was not then thy
father, nor Thetis thy mother, but the grey sea bare thee, and the sheer
cliffs, so untoward is thy spirit. But if in thy heart thou art shunning
some oracle, and thy lady mother hath told thee somewhat from Zeus, yet
me do thou send forth quickly, and make the rest of the host of the
Myrmidons follow me, if yet any light may arise from me to the Danaans.
And give me thy harness to buckle about my shoulders, if perchance the
Trojans may take me for thee, and so abstain from battle, and the
warlike sons of the Achaians may take breath, wearied as they be, for
brief is the breathing in war. And lightly might we that are fresh drive
men wearied with the battle back to the citadel, away from the ships and
the huts."

So he spake and besought him, in his unwittingness, for truly it was to
be his own evil death and fate that he prayed for. Then to him in great
heaviness spake swift-footed Achilles: "Ah me, Patroklos of the seed of
Zeus, what word hast thou spoken? Neither take I heed of any oracle that
I wot of, nor yet has my lady mother told me somewhat from Zeus, but
this dread sorrow comes upon my heart and spirit, from the hour that a
man wishes to rob me who am his equal, and to take away my prize, for
that he excels me in power. A dread sorrow to me is this, after all the
toils that my heart hath endured. The maiden that the sons of the
Achaians chose out for me as my prize, and that I won with my spear when
I sacked a well-walled city, her has mighty Agamemnon the son of Atreus
taken back out of my hands, as though I were but some sojourner
dishonourable. But we will let bygones be bygones. No man may be angry
of heart for ever, yet verily I said that I would not cease from my
wrath, until that time when to mine own ships should come the war-cry
and the battle. But do thou on thy shoulders my famous harness, and lead
the war-loving Myrmidons to the fight, to ward off destruction from the
ships, lest they even burn the ships with blazing fire, and take away
our desired return. But when thou hast driven them from the ships,
return, and even if the loud-thundering lord of Hera grant thee to win
glory, yet long not thou apart from me to fight with the war-loving
Trojans; thereby wilt thou minish mine honour. Neither do thou, exulting
in war and strife, and slaying the Trojans, lead on toward Ilios, lest
one of the eternal gods from Olympus come against thee; right dearly
doth Apollo the Far-darter love them. Nay, return back when thou halt
brought safety to the ships, and suffer the rest to fight along the
plain. For would, O father Zeus, and Athene, and Apollo, would that not
one of all the Trojans might escape death, nor one of the Argives, but
that we twain might avoid destruction, that alone we might undo the
sacred coronal of Troy."

So spake they each to other, but Aias no longer abode the onset, for he
was overpowered by darts; the counsel of Zeus was subduing him, and the
shafts of the proud Trojans; and his bright helmet, being smitten, kept
ringing terribly about his temples: for always it was smitten upon the
fair-wrought cheek-pieces. Moreover his left shoulder was wearied, as
steadfastly he held up his glittering shield, nor yet could they make
him give ground, as they pressed on with their darts around him. And
ever he was worn out with difficult breath, and much sweat kept running
from all his limbs, nor had he a moment to draw breath, so on all sides
was evil heaped on evil.

Tell me now, ye Muses that have mansions in Olympus, how first fire fell
on the ships of the Achaians. Hector drew near, and the ashen spear of
Aias he smote with his great sword, hard by the socket, behind the
point, and shore it clean away, and the son of Telamon brandished in his
hand no more than a pointless spear, and far from him the head of bronze
fell ringing on the ground.

And Aias knew in his noble heart, and shuddered at the deeds of the
gods, even how Zeus that thundereth on high did utterly cut off from him
avail in war, and desired victory for the Trojans. Then Aias gave back
out of the darts. But the Trojans cast on the swift ship unwearying
fire, and instantly the inextinguishable flame streamed over her: so the
fire begirt the stern, whereon Achilles smote his thighs, and spake to
Patroklos: "Arise, Patroklos of the seed of Zeus, commander of the
horsemen, for truly I see by the ships the rush of the consuming fire.
Up then, lest they take the ships, and there be no more retreat; do on
thy harness speedily, and I will summon the host."

So spake he, while Patroklos was harnessing him in shining bronze. His
goodly greaves, fitted with silver clasps, he first girt round his legs,
and next did on around his breast the well-dight starry corslet of the
swift-footed son of Aiakos. And round his shoulders he cast a sword of
bronze, with studs of silver, and next took the great and mighty shield,
and on his proud head set a well-wrought helm with a horse-hair crest,
and terribly nodded the crest from above. Then seized he two strong
lances that fitted his grasp, only he took not the spear of the noble
son of Aiakos, heavy, and huge, and stalwart, that none other of the
Achaians could wield. And Patroklos bade Automedon to yoke the horses
speedily, even Automedon whom most he honoured after Achilles, the
breaker of the ranks of men, and whom he held trustiest in battle to
abide his call. And for him Automedon led beneath the yoke the swift
horses, Xanthos and Balios, that fly as swift as the winds, the horses
that the harpy Podarge bare to the West Wind, as she grazed on the
meadow by the stream of Okeanos. And in the side-traces he put the
goodly Pedasos, that Achilles carried away, when he took the city of
Eetion; and being but a mortal steed, he followed with the immortal

Meanwhile Achilles went and harnessed all the Myrmidons in the huts with
armour, and they gathered like ravening wolves with strength in their
hearts unspeakable. And among them all stood warlike Achilles urging on
the horses and the targeteers. And he aroused the heart and valour of
each of them, and the ranks were yet the closer serried when they heard
the prince. And as when a man builds the wall of a high house with
close-set stones, to avoid the might of the winds, even so close were
arrayed the helmets and bossy shields, and shield pressed on shield,
helm on helm, and man on man, and the horse-hair crests on the bright
helmet-ridges touched each other when they nodded, so close they stood
by each other.

And straightway they poured forth like wasps that have their dwelling by
the wayside, and that boys are ever wont to vex, always tormenting them
in their nests beside the way in childish sport, and a common evil they
make for many. With heart and spirit like theirs the Myrmidons poured
out now from the ships, and a cry arose unquenchable, and Patroklos
called on his comrades, shouting aloud: "Myrmidons, ye comrades of
Achilles son of Peleus, be men, my friends, and be mindful of your
impetuous valour, that so we may win honour for the son of Peleus, that
is far the bravest of the Argives by the ships, and whose close-fighting
squires are the best. And let wide-ruling Agamemnon the son of Atreus
learn his own blindness of heart, in that he nothing honoured the best
of the Achaians."

So spake he, and aroused each man's heart and courage, and all in a mass
they fell on the Trojans, and the ships around echoed wondrously to the
cry of the Achaians. But when the Trojans beheld the strong son of
Menoitios, himself and his squire, shining in their armour, the heart
was stirred in all of them, and the companies wavered, for they deemed
that by the ships the swift-footed son of Peleus had cast away his
wrath, and chosen reconcilement: then each man glanced round, to see
where he might flee sheer destruction.

But Patroklos first with a shining spear cast straight into the press,
where most men were thronging, even by the stern of the ship of
great-hearted Protesilaos, and he smote Pyraichmes, who led his Paionian
horsemen out of Amydon, from the wide water of Axios; him he smote on
the right shoulder, and he fell on his back in the dust with a groan,
and his comrades around him, the Paionians, were afraid, for Patroklos
sent fear among them all, when he slew their leader that was ever the
best in fight. Then he drove them out from the ships, and quenched the
burning fire. And the half-burnt ship was left there, and the Trojans
fled, with a marvellous din, and the Danaans poured in among the hollow
ships, and ceaseless was the shouting. And as when from the high crest
of a great hill Zeus, the gatherer of the lightning, hath stirred a
dense cloud, and forth shine all the peaks, and sharp promontories, and
glades, and from heaven the infinite air breaks open, even so the
Danaans, having driven the blazing fire from the ships, for a little
while took breath, but there was no pause in the battle. For not yet
were the Trojans driven in utter rout by the Achaians, dear to Ares,
from the black ships, but they still stood up against them, and only
perforce gave ground from the ships. But even as robber wolves fall on
the lambs or kids, choosing them out of the herds, when they are
scattered on hills by the witlessness of the shepherd, and the wolves
behold it, and speedily harry the younglings that have no heart of
courage, - even so the Danaans fell on the Trojans, and they were mindful
of ill-sounding flight, and forgot their impetuous valour.

But that great Aias ever was fain to cast his spear at Hector of the
helm of bronze, but he, in his cunning of war, covered his broad
shoulders with his shield of bulls' hide, and watched the hurtling of
the arrows, and the noise of spears. And verily well he knew the change
in the mastery of war, but even so he abode, and was striving to rescue
his trusty comrades.

And as when from Olympus a cloud fares into heaven, from the sacred air,
when Zeus spreadeth forth the tempest, even so from the ships came the
war-cry and the rout, nor in order due did they cross the ditch again.
But his swift-footed horses bare Hector forth with his arms, and he left
the host of Troy, whom the delved trench restrained against their will.
And in the trench did many swift steeds that draw the car break the
fore-part of the pole, and leave the chariots of their masters.

But Patroklos followed after, crying fiercely to the Danaans, and full
of evil will against the Trojans, while they with cries and flight
filled all the ways, for they were scattered, and on high the storm of
dust was scattered below the clouds, and the whole-hooved horses
strained back towards the city, away from the ships and the huts.

But even where Patroklos saw the folk thickest in the rout, thither did
he guide his horses with a cry, and under his axle-trees men fell prone
from their chariots, and the cars were overturned with a din of
shattering. But straight over the ditch, in forward flight, leaped the
swift horses. And the heart of Patroklos urged him against Hector, for
he was eager to smite him, but his swift steeds bore Hector forth and
away. And even as beneath a tempest the whole black earth is oppressed,
on an autumn day, when Zeus pours forth rain most vehemently, and all
the rivers run full, and many a scaur the torrents tear away, and down
to the dark sea they rush headlong from the hills, roaring mightily, and
minished are the works of men, even so mighty was the roar of the Trojan
horses as they ran.

Now Patroklos when he had cloven the nearest companies, drave them
backward again to the ships, nor suffered them to approach the city,

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