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because grief had entered into his heart and soul. And bright-eyed
Athene stood by him and said: "Heaven-sprung son of Laertes, Odysseus of
many devices, will ye indeed fling yourselves upon your benched ships to
flee homeward to your dear native land? But ye would leave to Priam and
the Trojans their boast, even Helen of Argos, for whose sake many an
Achaian hath perished in Troy, far from his dear native land. But go
thou now amid the host of the Achaians, and tarry not; and with gentle
words refrain every man, neither suffer them to draw their curved ships
down to the salt sea."

So said she, and he knew the voice of the goddess speaking to him, and
set him to run, and cast away his mantle, the which his herald gathered
up, even Eurybated of Ithaca, that waited on him. And himself he went to
meet Agamemnon son of Atreus, and at his hand received the sceptre of
his sires, imperishable for ever, wherewith he took his way amid the
ships of the mail-clad Achaians.

Whenever he found one that was a captain and a man of mark, he stood by
his side, and refrained him with gentle words: "Good sir, it is not
seemly to affright thee like a coward, but do thou sit thyself and make
all thy folk sit down. For thou knowest not yet clearly what is the
purpose of Atreus' son; now is he but making trial, and soon he will
afflict the sons of the Achaians. And heard we not all of us what he
spake in the council? Beware lest in his anger he evilly entreat the
sons of the Achaians. For proud is the soul of heaven-fostered kings;
because their honour is of Zeus, and the god of counsel loveth them."

But whatever man of the people he saw and found him shouting, him he
drave with his sceptre and chode him with loud words: "Good sir, sit
still and hearken to the words of others that are thy betters; but thou
art no warrior, and a weakling, never reckoned whether in battle or in
council. In no wise can we Achaians all be kings here. A multitude of
masters is no good thing; let there be one master, one king, to whom the
son of crooked-counselling Kronos hath granted it, [even the sceptre and
judgments, that he may rule among you"].

So masterfully ranged he the host; and they hasted back to the assembly
from ships and huts, with noise as when a wave of loud-sounding sea
roareth on the long beach and the main resoundeth.

Now all the rest sat down and kept their place upon the benches, only
Thersites still chattered on, the uncontrolled speech, whose mind was
full of words many and disorderly, wherewith to strive against the
chiefs idly and in no good order, but even as he deemed that he should
make the Argives laugh. And he was ill-favored beyond all men that came
to Ilios. Bandy-legged was he, and lame of one foot, and his two
shoulders rounded, arched down upon his chest; and over them his head
was warped, and a scanty stubble sprouted on it. Hateful was he to
Achilles above all and to Odysseus, for them he was wont to revile. But
now with shrill shout he poured forth his upbraidings upon goodly
Agamemnon. With him the Achaians were sore vexed and had indignation in
their souls. But he with loud shout spake and reviled Agamemnon:
"Atreides, for what art thou now ill content and lacking? Surely thy
huts are full of bronze and many women are in they huts, the chosen
spoils that we Achaians give thee first of all, whene'er we take a town.
Can it be that thou yet wantest gold as well, such as some one of the
horse-taming Trojans may bring from Ilios to ransom his son, whom I
perchance or some other Achaian have led captive; or else some young
girl, to know in love, whom thou mayest keep apart to thyself? But it is
not seemly for one that is their captain to bring the sons of the
Achaians to ill. Soft fools, base things of shame, ye women of Achaia
and men no more, let us depart home with our ships, and leave this
fellow here in Troy-land to gorge him with meeds of honour, that he may
see whether our aid avail him aught or no; even he that hath now done
dishonour to Achilles, a far better man than he; for he hath taken away
his meed of honour and keepeth it by his own violent deed. Of a very
surety is there no wrath at all in Achilles' mind, but he is slack; else
this despite, thou son of Atreus, were thy last."

So spake Thersites, reviling Agamemnon shepherd of the host. But goodly
Odysseus came straight to his side, and looking sternly at him with hard
words rebuked him: "Thersites, reckless in words, shrill orator though
thou art, refrain thyself, nor aim to strive singly against kings. For I
deem that no mortal is baser than thou of all that with the sons of
Atreus came before Ilios. Therefore were it well that thou shouldest not
have kings in thy mouth as thou talkest, and utter revilings against
them and be on the watch for departure. We know not yet clearly how
these things shall be, whether we sons of the Achaians shall return for
good or ill. Therefore now dost thou revile continually Agamemnon son of
Atreus, shepherd of the host, because the Danaan warriors give him many
gifts, and so thou talkest tauntingly. But I will tell thee plain, and
that I say shall even be brought to pass: if I find thee again raving as
now thou art, then may Odysseus' head no longer abide upon his
shoulders, nor may I any more be called father of Telemachos, if I take
thee not and strip from thee thy garments, thy mantle and tunic that
cover thy nakedness, and for thyself send thee weeping to the fleet
ships, and beat thee out of the assembly with shameful blows."

So spake he, and with his staff smote his back and shoulders: and he
bowed down and a big tear fell from him, and a bloody weal stood up from
his back beneath the golden sceptre. Then he sat down and was amazed,
and in pain with helpless look wiped away the tear. But the rest, though
they were sotty, laughed lightly at him, and thus would one speak
looking at another standing by: "Go to, of a truth Odysseus hath wrought
good deeds without number ere now, standing foremost in wise counsels
and setting battle in array, but now is this thing the best by far that
he hath wrought among the Argives, to wit, that he hath stayed this
prating railer from his harangues. Never again, forsooth, will his proud
soul henceforth bid him revile the kings with slanderous words."

So said the common sort; but up rose Odysseus waster of cities, with
sceptre in his hand. And by his side bright-eyed Athene in the likeness
of a herald bade the multitude keep silence, that the sons of the
Achaians, both the nearest and the farthest, might hear his words
together and give heed to his counsel. He of good intent made harangue
to them and said: "Atreides, now surely are the Achaians for making
thee, O king, most despised among all mortal men, nor will they fulfil
the promise that they pledged thee when they still were marching hither
from horse-pasturing Argos; that thou shouldest not return till thou
hadst laid well-walled Ilios waste. For like young children or widow
women do they wail each to the other of returning home. Yea, here is
toil to make a man depart disheartened. For he that stayeth away but one
single month far from his wife in his benched ship fretteth himself when
winter storms and the furious sea imprison him; but for us, the ninth
year of our stay here is upon us in its course. Therefore do I not
marvel that the Achaians should fret beside their beaked ships; yet
nevertheless is it shameful to wait long and to depart empty. Be of good
heart, my friends, and wait a while, until we learn whether Kalchas be a
true prophet or no. For this thing verily we know well in our hearts,
and ye all are witnesses thereof, even as many as the fates of death
have not borne away. It was as it were but yesterday or the day before
that the Achaians' ships were gathering in Aulis, freighted with trouble
for Priam and the Trojans; and we round about a spring were offering on
the holy altars unblemished hecatombs to the immortals, beneath a fair
plane-tree whence flowed bright water, when there was seen a great
portent: a snake blood-red on the back, terrible, whom the god of
Olympus himself had sent forth to the light of day, sprang from beneath
the altar and darted to the plane-tree. Now there were there the brood
of a sparrow, tender little ones, upon the topmost branch, nestling
beneath the leaves; eight were they and the mother of the little ones
was the ninth, and the snake swallowed these cheeping pitifully. And the
mother fluttered around wailing for her dear little ones; but he coiled
himself and caught her by the wing as she screamed about him. Now when
he had swallowed the sparrow's little ones and the mother with them, the
god who revealed him made of him a sign; for the son of
crooked-counselling Kronos turned him to stone, and we stood by and
marvelled to see what was done. So when the dread portent brake in upon
the hecatombs of the gods, then did Kalchas forthwith prophesy, and
said: 'Why hold ye your peace, ye flowing-haired Achaians? To us hath
Zeus the counsellor shown this great sign, late come, of late
fulfilment, the fame whereof shall never perish. Even as he swallowed
the sparrow's little ones and herself, the eight wherewith the mother
that bare the little ones was the ninth, so shall we war there so many
years, but in the tenth year shall we take the wide-wayed city.' So
spake the seer; and now are all these things being fulfilled. So come,
abide ye all, ye well-greaved Achaians, even where ye are, until we have
taken the great city of Priam."

So spake he, and the Argives shouted aloud, and all round the ships
echoed terribly to the voice of the Achaians as they praised the saying
of god-like Odysseus. And then spake among them knightly Nestor of
Gerenia: "Out on it; in very truth ye hold assembly like silly boys that
have no care for deeds of war. What shall come of our covenants and our
oaths? Let all counsels be cast into the fire and all devices of
warriors and the pure drink-offerings and the right hands of fellowship
wherein we trusted. For we are vainly striving with words nor can we
find any device at all, for all our long tarrying here. Son of Atreus,
do thou still, as erst, keep steadfast purpose and lead the Argives amid
the violent fray; and for these, let them perish, the one or two
Achaians that take secret counsel - to depart to Argos first, before they
know whether the promise of aegis-bearing Zeus be a lie or no. Yea, for
I say that most mighty Kronion pledged us his word that day when the
Argives embarked upon their fleet ships, bearing unto the Trojans death
and fate; for by his lightning upon our right he manifested signs of
good. Therefore let Trojan's wife and paid back his strivings and groans
for Helen's sake. But if any man is overmuch desirous to depart homewards,
let him lay his hand upon his decked black ship, that before all men he
may encounter death and fate. But do thou, my king, take good counsel
thyself, and whate'er it be, shall not be cast away. Separate thy
warriors by tribes and by clans, Agamemnon, that clan may give aid to
clan and tribe to tribe. If thou do thus and the Achaians hearken to
thee, then wilt thou know who among thy captains and who of the common
sort is a coward, and who too is brave; for they will fight each after
their sort. So wilt thou know whether it is even by divine command that
thou shalt not take the city, or by the baseness of thy warriors and
their ill skill in battle."

And lord Agamemnon answered and said to him: "Verily hast thou again
outdone the sons of the Achaians in speech, old man. Ah, father Zeus and
Athene and Apollo, would that among the Achaians I had ten such
councillors; then would the city of king Priam soon bow beneath our
hands, captive and wasted. But aegis-bearing Zeus, the son of Kronos,
hath brought sorrows upon me, in that he casteth my lot amid fruitless
wranglings and strifes. For in truth I and Achilles fought about a
damsel with violent words, and I was first to be angry; but if we can
only be at one in council, then will there no more be any putting off
the day of evil for the Trojans, no not for an instant. But now go ye to
your meal that we may join battle. Let each man sharpen well his spear
and bestow well his shield, and let him well give his fleet-footed
steeds their meal, and look well to his chariot on every side and take
thought for battle, that all day long we may contend in hateful war. For
of respite shall there intervene no, not a whit, only that the coming of
night shall part the fury of warriors. On each man's breast shall the
baldrick of his covering shield be wet with sweat, and his hand shall
grow faint about the spear, and each man's horse shall sweat as he
draweth the polished chariot. And whomsoever I perceive minded to tarry
far from the fight beside the beaked ships, for him shall there be no
hope hereafter to escape the dogs and birds of prey."

So spake he, and the Argives shouted aloud, like to a wave on a steep
shore, when the south wind cometh and stirreth it; even on a jutting
rock, that is never left at peace by the waves of all winds that rise
from this side and from that. And they did sacrifice each man to one of
the everlasting gods, praying for escape from death and the tumult of
battle. But Agamemnon king of men slew a fat bull of five years to most
mighty Kronion, and called the elders, the princes of the Achaian host,
Nestor first and king Idomeneus, and then the two Aiantes and Tydeus'
son, and sixthly Odysseus peer of Zeus in counsel. And Menelaos of the
loud war-cry came to him unbidden, for he knew in his heart how his
brother toiled. Then stood they around the bull and took the
barley-meal. And Agamemnon made his prayer in their midst and said:
"Zeus, most glorious, most great, god of the storm-cloud, that dwellest
in the heaven, vouchsafe that the sun set not upon us nor the darkness
come near, till I have laid low upon the earth Priam's palace smirched
with smoke, and burnt the doorways thereof with consuming fire, and rent
on Hector's breast his doublet cleft with the blade; and about him may
full many of his comrades prone in the dust bite the earth."

So spake he, but not as yet would Kronion grant him fulfilment; he
accepted the sacrifice, but made toil to wax increasingly.

Now when they had prayed and sprinkled the barley-meal they first drew
back the bull's head and cut his throat and flayed him, and cut slices
from the thigh's and wrapped them in fat, making a double fold, and laid
raw collops thereon. And these they burnt on cleft wood stript of
leaves, and spitted the vitals and held them over Hephaistos' flame. Now
when the thighs were burnt and they had tasted the vitals, then sliced
they all the rest and pierced it through with spits, and roasted it
carefully and drew all off again. So when they had rest from the task
and had made ready the banquet, they feasted, nor was their heart aught
stinted of the fair banquet. But when they had put away from them the
desire of meat and drink, then did knightly Nestor of Gerenia open his
saying to them: "Most noble son of Atreus, Agamemnon king of men, let us
not any more hold long converse here, nor for long delay the work that
god putteth in our hands; but come, let the heralds of the mail-clad
Achaians make proclamation to the folk and gather them throughout the
ships; and let us go thus in concert through the wide host of the
Achaians, that the speedier we may arouse keen war."

So spake he and Agamemnon king of men disregarded not. Straightway he
bade the clear-voiced heralds summon to battle the flowing-haired
Achaians. So those summoned and these gathered with all speed. And the
kings, the fosterlings of Zeus that were about Atreus' son, eagerly
marshalled them, and bright-eyed Athene in the midst, bearing the holy
aegis that knoweth neither age nor death, whereon wave an hundred
tassels of pure gold, all deftly woven and each one an hundred oxen
worth. Therewith she passed dazzling through the Achaian folk, urging
them forth; and in every man's heart she roused strength to battle
without ceasing and to fight. So was war made sweeter to them than to
depart in their hollow ships to their dear native land. Even as ravaging
fire kindleth a boundless forest on a mountain's peaks, and the blaze is
seen from afar, even so as they marched went the dazzling gleam from the
innumerable bronze through the sky even unto the heavens.

And as the many tribes of feathered birds, wild geese or cranes or
long-necked swans, on the Asian mead by Kaystrios' stream, fly hither
and thither joying in their plumage, and with loud cries settle ever
onwards, and the mead resounds; even so poured forth the many tribes of
warriors from ships and huts into the Skamandrian plain. And the earth
echoed terribly beneath the tread of men and horses. So stood they in
the flowery Skamandrian plain, unnumbered as are leaves and flowers in
their season. Even as the many tribes of thick flies that hover about a
herdsman's steading in the spring season, when milk drencheth the pails,
even in like number stood the flowing-haired Achaians upon the plain in
face of the Trojans, eager to rend them asunder. And even as the
goatherds easily divide the ranging flocks of goats when they mingle in
the pasture, so did their captains marshal them on this side and that,
to enter into the fray, and in their midst lord Agamemnon, his head and
eyes like unto Zeus whose joy is in the thunder, and his waist like unto
Ares and his breast unto Poseidon. Even as a bull standeth out far
foremost amid the herd, for his is pre-eminent amid the pasturing kine,
even such did Zeus make Atreides on that day, pre-eminent among many and
chief amid heroes.

Tell me now, ye Muses that dwell in the mansions of Olympus - seeing that
ye are goddesses and are at hand and know all things, but we hear only a
rumour and know not anything - who were the captains of the Danaans and
their lords. But the common sort could I not number nor name, nay, not
if ten tongues were mine and ten mouths, and a voice unwearied, and my
heart of bronze within me, did not the Muses of Olympus, daughters of
aegis-bearing Zeus, put into my mind all that came to Ilios. So will I
tell the captains of the ships and all the ships in order.

Of the Boiotians Peneleos and Leitos were captains, and Arkesilaos and
Prothoenor and Klonios; these were they that dwelt in Hyria and rocky
Aulis and Schoinos and Skolos and Eteonos full of ridges, Thespeia and
Graia and Mykalessos with wide lawns; and that dwelt about Harma and
Eilesion and Erythrai, and they that possessed Eleon and Peteon and
Hyle, Okalea and the stablished fortress of Medeon, Kopai and Eutresis
and Thisbe haunt of doves; and they of Koroneia and grassy Haliartos,
and that possessed Plataia and that dwelt in Glisas, and that possessed
the stablished fortress of lesser Thebes and holy Onchestos, Poseidon's
bright grove; and that possessed Arne rich in vineyards, and Mideia and
sacred Nisa and Anthedon on the furthest borders. Of these there came
fifty ships, and in each one embarked young men of the Boiotians an
hundred and twenty. And they that dwelt in Aspledon and Orchomenos of
the Minyai were led of Askalaphos and Ialmenos, sons of Ares, whom
Astyoche conceived of the mighty god in the palace of Aktor son of
Azeus, having entered her upper chamber, a stately maiden; for mighty
Ares lay with her privily. And with them sailed thirty hollow ships.

And the Phokians were led of Schedios and Epistrophos, sons of
great-hearted Iphitos son of Naubolos; these were they that possessed
Kyparissos and rocky Pytho and sacred Krisa and Daulis and Panopeus, and
they that dwelt about Anemoreia and Hyampolis, yea, and they that lived
by the goodly river Kephisos and possessed Lilaia by Kephisos' springs.
And with them followed thirty black ships. So they marshalled the ranks
of the Phokians diligently, and had their station hard by the Boiotians
on the left.

And of the Lokrians the fleet son of Oileus was captain, Aias the less,
that was not so great as was the Telamonian Aias but far less. Small was
he, with linen corslet, but with the spear he far outdid all the
Hellenes and Achaians. These were they that dwelt in Kynos and Opus and
Kalliaros and Bessa and Skarphe and lovely Augeiai and Tarphe and
Thronion, about the streams of Boagrios. And with Aias followed forty
black ships of the Lokrians that dwell over against holy Euboia.

And the Abantes breathing fury, they that possessed Euboia and Chalkis
and Eiretria and Histiaia rich in vines, and Kerinthos by the sea and
the steep fortress of Dios and they that possessed Karytos, and they
that dwelt in Styra, all these again were led of Elephenor of the stock
of Ares, even the son of Chalkodon, and captain of the proud Abantes.
And with him followed the fleet Abantes with hair flowing behind,
spearmen eager with ashen shafts outstretched to tear the corslets on
the breasts of the foes. And with him forty black ships followed.

And they that possessed the goodly citadel of Athens, the domain of
Erechtheus the high-hearted, whom erst Athene daughter of Zeus fostered
when Earth, the grain-giver, brought him to birth; - and she gave him a
resting-place in Athens in her own rich sanctuary; and there the sons of
the Athenians worship him with bulls and rams as the years turn in their
courses - these again were led of Menestheus son of Peteos. And there was
no man upon the face of earth that was like him for the marshalling of
horsemen and warriors that bear the shield. Only Nestor rivalled him,
for he was the elder by birth. And with him rivalled him, for he was the
elder by birth. And with him fifty black ships followed.

And Aias led twelve ships from Salamis, [and brought them and set them
where the battalions of the Athenians stood.]

And they that possessed Argos and Tiryns of the great walls, Hermione
and Asine that enfold the deep gulf, Troizen and Eionai and Epidauros
full of vines, and the youths of the Achaians that possessed Aigina and
Mases, these were led of Diomedes of the loud war-cary and Sthenelos,
dear son of famous Kapaneus. And the third with them came Euryalos, a
godlike warrior, the son of king Mekisteus son of Talaos. But Diomedes
of the loud war-cry was lord over all. And with them eighty black ships

And of them that possessed the stablished fortress of Mykene and wealthy
Corinth and stablished Kleonai, and dwelt in Orneiai and lovely
Araithyrea and Sikyon, wherein Adrestos was king at the first; and of
them that possessed Hyperesie and steep Gonoessa and Pellene, and dwelt
about Aigion and through all the coast-land and about broad Helike, of
them did lord Agamemnon son of Atreus lead an hundred ships. With him
followed most and goodliest folk by far; and in their midst himself was
clad in flashing bronze, all glorious, and was pre-eminent amid all
warriors, because he was goodliest and led folk far greatest in number.

And of them that possessed Lakedaimon lying low amid the rifted hills,
and Pharis and Sparta and Messe, the haunt of doves, and dwelt in
Bryseiai and lovely Augeiai, and of them too that possessed Amyklai and
the sea-coast fortress of Helos, and that possessed Laas and dwelt about
Oitylos, of these was the king's brother leader, even Menelaos of the
loud war-cry, leader of sixty ships, and these were arrayed apart. And
himself marched among them confident in his zeal, urging his men to
battle: and his heart most of all was set to take vengeance for his
strivings and groans for Helen's sake [Or, "for Helen's searchings of
heart and groans."].

And of them that dwelt in Pylos and lovely Arene and Thryon the
fording-place of Alpheios, and in established Aipy, and were inhabitants
of Kyparisseis and Amphigeneia and Pteleos and Helos and Dorion - where
the Muses met Thamyris the Thracian, and made an end of his singing, as
he was faring from Oichalia, from Eurytos the Oichalian; for he averred
with boasting that he would conquer, even did the Muses themselves sing
against him, the daughters of aegis-bearing Zeus; but they in their
anger maimed him, moreover they took from him the high gift of song and
made him to forget his harping - of all these was knightly Nestor of
Gerenia leader, and with him sailed ninety hollow ships.

And of them that possessed Arkadia beneath the steep mountain of
Kyllene, beside the tomb of Aipytos, where are warriors that fight hand
to hand; and of them that dwelt in Pheneos and Orchomenos abounding in
flocks, and Rhipe and Stratie and windy Enispe, and that possessed Tegea

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