Now by this time the Trojans were close upon the trench; but there they stood, for the horses were afraid, the trench being deep, and having great stakes set in. Then Polydămas, who was one of the wisest of the Trojans, said to Hector: "This is but a mad thing, O Hector, to try to cross the trench in our chariots, for it is wide, and has many stakes set in it. Look too at this: how will it be when we have crossed it? If, indeed, it is the pleasure of Zeus that the Greeks should perish utterly—well; but if, as has come to pass before, not once only, the Greeks take heart and turn upon us and drive us back, what shall we do? Nay; let us leave our chariots here, and if need be, we can come back and find them waiting for us. But we will go on foot against the wall."
So they jumped down from their chariots and went against the walls on foot. In five companies they went. The first, which was the largest and had the bravest of the Trojans, Hector himself led. And the next was commanded by Paris. The third was led by Helĕnus the prophet, and with him was Deïphobus, who also was a son of King Priam; and Asius, one of the allies, who was King of Arisbé. Of the fourth Ænēas was the leader, and of the fifth Sarpēdon of Lycia with Glaucus and others among the allies. They stood closely to each other, holding shield by shield, and so they went against the Greeks. All of them, also, left their chariots on this side of the trench, all except King Asius only. But he drove his chariot to a place where there was a road over the trench, and on the other side a gate. And this gate chanced to be open, for the keepers had set it open, so that any of the Greeks who were flying from the Trojans might find refuge inside it. When the keepers, who were two mighty men of valour, saw Asius and his company coming, they went forward and stood in front of the gate, for they had not time to shut it. There they stood, just as two wild boars might stand at bay against a crowd of men and dogs. And all the while the men who stood on the wall never ceased to throw down heavy stones on the Trojans. The stones fell as fast as the flakes of snow fall on a winter's day, and the helmets and shields of the Trojans rang out as the stones crashed upon them. Many fell to the ground, and King Asius, for all his fury, could not make his way through the gate.
At another of the gates, where Hector was leading his company, there was seen a very strange thing in the skies. An eagle had caught a great snake, and was carrying it in his claws to give to its young ones for food. But the snake fought fiercely for its life, and writhed itself about till it bit the bird upon the breast. And when the eagle felt that it had been bitten, it dropped the snake into the middle of the two armies, and flew away with a loud cry. Then Polydămas, who was a wise man, and knew the meaning of all such signs, said to Hector: "O Hector, it will be well for us not to follow the Greeks to their ships. For this strange thing which we have just seen in the sky is a sign to us. The eagle signifies the Trojans, and the snake signifies the Greeks. Now, as the eagle caught the snake but could not hold it, so have we prevailed over the Greeks, but shall not be able to conquer them altogether. And as the snake turned upon the bird and bit it, so the Greeks turn upon us and do us great damage, so that we shall be driven back from the ships, and leave many of our comrades dead behind us."
But Hector was angry to hear such words, and said: "This is bad advice that you give me. Surely the gods have changed your wisdom into foolishness. Would you have me forget the commandment of Zeus, when he bade me to follow the Greeks even to their ships, and to take heed to birds, and do one thing or another because they fly this way or that? Little do I care whether they fly east or west or are seen on the right hand or on the left. Surely there is but one sign for a brave man, that he be fighting for his fatherland. Take heed, therefore, to yourself. Truly if you hold back from the war, or cause any other man to hold back, I will smite you with my spear."
Then he sprang forward, and the Trojans followed him with a great shout. And Zeus sent down from Mount Ida a great wind, and the wind carried the dust of the plain straight into the faces of the Greeks, troubling them not a little. But when the Trojans sought to drag down the battlements which were on the wall and to pull up the stakes which had been set to strengthen it, they could not, for the building was strong, and the Greeks stood firm in their place, with shield joining to shield, and fought for the wall.
After a while Sarpēdon the Lycian came to the front, for Zeus put it into his heart so to do, that he might win great glory for himself. He came holding his shield before him and with a long spear in either hand. Just as a lion, when he is mad with hunger, goes against a stable in which oxen are kept, or against a sheepfold, and does not care though it is guarded by many men and dogs, so did Sarpēdon go against the wall. And he spoke to Glaucus, his kinsman, saying: "Tell me, Glaucus, why is it that our people at home honour us with the chief places at feasts, and with fat portions of flesh, and with wine of the best, and that they have set apart for us a great domain of orchard and of ploughland by the banks of the Xanthus. Surely it is that we may fight in the front rank, and show to others how they should behave in the battle. For so some one who may see us will say, 'Of a truth these are honourable men, these princes of Lycia, and not without good do they eat the fat and drink the sweet, for they are always to be seen fighting in the front.' Maybe, if we could hope to live for ever and to escape from old age and death, I would not either fight myself in the front or bid you do so; but now, seeing that there are ten thousand chances of death about us, let us see whether we may not win glory from another, or haply another may win it from us."
When he had so spoken he leapt forward, and Glaucus went with him, and all the host of the Lycians followed close behind. Then the keeper of the gate—he was a man of Athens—was struck with great fear and looked about for help. All along the wall he looked, and he saw Ajax the Greater and Ajax the Less, and Teucer, for the hurt which Hector had given him was now healed. He would have shouted to them, but the din of arms, and the ringing of shields and helmets and the battering at the gates, would have drowned his voice. So he called a herald, and said: "Run now, and call Ajax hither—both the Greater and the Less, if it may be—for the danger is very great, and the chiefs of the Lycians press us hard. And if there is trouble there also, then let Ajax the Greater come at the least and Teucer with him, bringing his bow." So the herald ran with the message, and when Ajax the Greater heard it, he said to the other Ajax: "Stand here and keep off the enemy; and I will go yonder, and come again when I have done my work."
So Ajax, and Teucer his brother, ran as quickly as they could to the gate, and just as they got to it the Lycians came against it with a great rush, as if it had been a storm of wind and rain. But still the Greeks stood firm, and Ajax slew one of the Lycian chiefs and Teucer wounded Glaucus on the shoulder. Quietly he jumped down from the wall, for he did not wish that any one should see that he was wounded. But Sarpēdon saw it and was sorry, because he was his kinsman and also a great help in the battle. Nevertheless he pressed on as bravely as before. First he slew one of the Greeks upon the wall, and then he laid hold of one of the battlements with his two hands and pulled it down, and a part of the wall with it. Thus there was a way made by which men might enter the camp. But Ajax and his brother stopped the Lycians for a time, aiming at Sarpēdon, both of them together. Teucer struck at him with his spear, for the bow he could not use when the enemy was so near, and smote the strap of his shield, but did him no harm; Ajax drove his spear through the shield and pushed him back so that he was forced to leap from the wall to the ground. But his courage was not one whit abated. He cried out: "Help me now, ye men of Lycia. It is hard for me, however great my strength, to do this work alone, pulling down the wall and making a way for you to the ships." And all his people, when they heard his voice, came rushing up in a great crowd. But the Greeks, on the other hand, strengthened their line, others coming to the place where they saw the need to be the greatest, for indeed it was a matter of life and death. For a long time they fought with equal strength, for the Lycians could not break down the wall and make a way to the ships, and the Greeks could not drive the Lycians back.
But at the last Zeus gave the glory to Hector. Once again he sprang to the front, crying: "Now follow me, men of Troy, and we will burn the ships." In front of the gate there lay a great stone, broad at the bottom and sharp at the top. Scarcely could two men, the strongest that there are in these days, lift it on to a wagon; but Hector took it up as easily as a shepherd carries in one hand the fleece of a sheep. Now there were two folding doors in the middle of the gate, by which a man might enter without opening the gate. These doors were fastened by a bolt and a key. Then Hector lifted the great stone above his head, holding it with both his hands, and he put his feet apart, that his aim might be the surer and stronger, and threw with all his might at the doors. With a great crash did it come against them, and the bolts could not hold against it, and the hinges were broken, and the doors flew back. Then Hector leapt into the open space, holding a spear in either hand, and his eyes flashed with fire. And the Trojans followed him, some entering by the gate and some climbing over the wall.
Now Poseidon, the god of the sea, loved the Greeks, and when he saw from a distant mountain where he sat how they fled before the Trojans, he was greatly troubled; and he said to himself: "Now I will help these men." It happened, also that Zeus had turned his eyes from the battle, thinking that none of the gods would do the thing which he had forbidden, that is, bring help to the Greeks. So Poseidon left the mountain where he sat, and came to his palace under the sea. There he harnessed his horses to his chariot, and he passed over the waves, while the great beasts of the sea, whales, and porpoises and the like, gambolled round him as he went, because they knew that he was their king. And when he came to the land of Troy, he left his chariot in a cave, and went on foot into the camp of the Greeks having made himself like to Calchas the herald. And he came to the place where Ajax the Greater and the other Ajax were standing, and said to them: "Stir yourselves, for it is for you, who are stronger than other men, to save the people. I do not fear for the rest of the wall, but only for the place where Hector is fighting. Go then and keep him back, and may some god give you strength and courage."
And as he spoke he touched them with his staff and filled them with fresh courage, and gave new strength to their hands and to their feet. And when he had done this, he passed out of their sight, as quickly as a hawk flies when he drops from a cliff, chasing a bird. Then the Lesser Ajax perceived that he was not Calchas the herald but a god; and he said to the other Ajax: "This is a god who sends us to the battle. I knew him as he went away; and truly I feel my heart in me eager for the fight." And Ajax the Greater answered: "So it is with me also. I am all on fire for the battle. I would go against this Hector, even should I go alone." Meanwhile Poseidon went through the army, stirring up the other chiefs in the same way. But still the Trojans came on, even fiercer than before. Then Teucer slew a famous chief, Imbrius by name, driving his spear point under the man's ear. Like to some tall poplar by a river-side which a woodman cuts down with his axe of bronze, so did Imbrius fall. Then Hector cast his spear at Teucer. Him he missed, but he struck the comrade who was standing next to him. And Hector, as the man lay upon the ground, seized his helmet, and would have dragged the body among his own people. But Ajax the Greater thrust with his spear, and struck the boss of Hector's shield so strongly that he was driven backward and loosed his hold of the helmet, and the Greeks carried the man to the ships. Next there was slain a chief from the land of Caria who had come to Troy, desiring to have Cassandra, daughter of King Priam, for his wife. Loudly he had boasted, saying that he would drive the Greeks to the ships; and the King had promised him his daughter. But now he was slain. And the King of the Cretans, when he saw him lie dead, cried: "Truly this was a great thing which you promised to King Priam, so that he might give you his daughter. You should have come rather to us, and Agamemnon would have given you the fairest of his daughters, bringing her from Argos, that she might be married to you, if only you would take for us this city of Troy. But come now with me to the ships, that we may treat with you about this matter. Verily you will find that we Greeks are men of an open hand." Thus did the King speak, mocking the dead.
King Asius heard these words and was full of anger, and came at the Prince of Crete, lifting his spear to throw it. He was on foot, and his chariot followed close after him. But before he could cast the spear the Prince of Crete smote him full on the breast, and he fell as an oak or a pine tree falls before the axes of the wood-cutters on the hills. And when the driver of the chariot saw his master fall he was struck with fear, not knowing what to do. Then Antilŏchus, who was the eldest son of old Nestor, struck him down with his spear, and jumped on to the chariot, and took it and the horses for his own. Many other of the Trojans did the Greeks slay, and many they wounded. Even the mighty Hector himself was struck down for a time. He cast his spear at the great Ajax but hurt him not, for the point was turned by the armour, so thick it was and strong. And when he saw that he had cast the spear in vain, then he turned, and sought to go back to the ranks of his comrades; but, as he went, Ajax took up from the ground a great stone, one of many that lay there, and served as props for the ships, and cast it at Hector, smiting him above the rim of his shield on the neck. He fell as an oak falls when the lightning has struck it, and the Greeks, when they saw him fall, rushed with a great cry, and would have caught hold of his body and dragged it away. But this the Trojans did not suffer, for many of the bravest of them stood before him, covering him with their shields. And when they had driven back the Greeks a space, they lifted him from the ground, and carried him to the river and poured water on him. After a while he sat up, and then his spirit left him again, for it was a grievous blow which Ajax had dealt him. But when the Greeks saw that Hector was carried out of the battle, they took fresh courage and charged the Trojans, and drove them back even beyond the walls and the trench. And when the Trojans came to the place where they had left their chariots and horses, they stood pale and trembling, not knowing what to do.
But now Zeus turned his eyes again to the land of Troy. Very angry was he when he saw what had happened, how the Trojans fled from the Greeks, and Hector lay upon the plain, like to one that has fallen in battle, and his friends stood round him in great fear lest he had been wounded to the death. So he said to Hera: "Is this then your doing, rebellious one? Tell me now the truth, or it will be worse for you." And Hera answered: "Nay, this is not my doing. It is Poseidon who gives to the Greeks strength and courage." Then said Zeus to Iris the messenger: "Go now to Poseidon and tell him that it is my will that he is not to meddle with these things any more. Let him go back to the sea, for there he is master; but the things that happen on the earth, these belong to me. And when you have given this message to Poseidon, then go to Apollo and bid him go to Hector where he lies like a dead man on the plain, and put new life and courage into him, and send him back with new strength to the battle."
So Iris went on her errand. First she came to Poseidon, and gave him the message of Zeus. He was very angry when he heard it, and said: "Am I not his equal in honour? By what right does he bid me do this thing and cease from doing that? We were three brothers, sons of Old Time, and to me was given the dominion of the sea, and to Pluto the dwellings of the dead, and to Zeus to reign over the heaven and the earth."
But Iris answered: "O Poseidon, is it well to speak thus of Zeus? Do you not know how the eldest born is ever the strongest?" And Poseidon answered: "These are words of wisdom, O Iris, yet truly, if Zeus is minded to save this city of Troy, there will be enmity without ceasing between him and me."
Then went Iris to Apollo and gave him the message of Zeus. So Apollo hastened to Hector where he sat by the river-side, for already his strength had begun to come back to him. And Apollo said to him: "Why is this, O Hector? Why do you sit and take no part in the battle?" Hector answered: "Is this a god that speaks to me? Did you not see how Ajax struck me down with a great stone, so that I could fight no more? Truly, I thought that I had gone down to the place of the dead." Apollo said: "Take courage, my friend. I am Apollo of the Golden Sword, and Zeus has sent me to stand by you and to help you. Come now, call the Trojans together again, and go before them, and lead them to the ships, and I will be with you and make the way easy for you." Then Hector stood up, and his strength came back to him as it had been before, and he called to the Trojans and went before them. The Greeks wondered when they saw him, for they thought that he had been wounded to death. They were like men who hunt a stag or a wild goat and find a lion. Nevertheless they kept up their courage, and stood close together with their faces towards the enemy; but though the chiefs stood firm, most of the Greeks turned their backs and fled. And Hector still came on and Apollo went before him, having a cloud of fire round his shoulders, holding the great shield of Zeus in his hand. Many of the Greeks were slain that day. And now the Trojans came again to the trench and crossed it, and neither the wall nor the gates stopped them, and they came as far as the ships, Hector being first of all. And close behind Hector was a chief who carried a torch in his hand, with which to set fire to a ship. Him Ajax smote on the breast with his sword and killed him. And Hector, when he saw it, cast his spear at Ajax. Him he missed, but he killed the comrade who was standing close by him. Then Ajax called to Teucer: "Where is your bow and arrows? Shoot." So Teucer shot. With the first arrow he slew a Trojan; but when he laid another arrow upon the string and aimed it at Hector, the string broke, and the arrow went far astray. When Teucer saw this he cried out: "Surely the gods are against us; see how the string of my bow is broken, and yet it was new this very day." And Ajax said to him: "Let your bow be, if the gods will not have you use it. Take your spear and fight. Truly, if the men of Troy prevail over us, yet they shall not take our ships for nothing." So Teucer threw away his bow, and took up spear and shield. When Hector saw it, he cried: "Come on, men of Troy, for Zeus is with us, and they whom Zeus favours are strong, and they whom he favours not are weak. See now how he has broken the bow of Teucer, the great archer. Come on, therefore, for the gods give us victory. And even if a man die, it is a noble thing to die fighting for his country. His wife and children shall dwell in peace, and he himself shall be famous for ever."
Patroclus stood by Achilles, weeping bitterly. And Achilles said to him: "What is the matter, Patroclus, that you weep? You are like a girl-child that runs along by her mother's side, and holds her gown and cries till she takes her up in her arms. Have you heard bad news from Phthia? Yet your father still lives, I know, and so does the old man Peleus. Or are you weeping for the Greeks because they perish for their folly, or, maybe, for the folly of their King?"
Then Patroclus answered: "Be not angry with me, great Achilles. The Greeks are in great trouble, for all the bravest of their chiefs are wounded, and yet you still keep your anger, and will not help them. They say that Peleus was your father and Thetis your mother. Yet I should say, so hard are you, that a rock was your father and your mother the sea. If you will not go forth to the battle because you have had some warning from the gods, then let me go, and let your people, the Myrmidons, go with me. And let me put on your armour; the Trojans will think that you have come back to the battle, and the Greeks will have a breathing space."
So Patroclus spoke, entreating Achilles, but he did not know that it was for his own death that he asked. And Achilles answered: "It is no warning that I heed, and that keeps me from the battle. Such things trouble me not. But these men were not ashamed to stand by when their King took away from me the prize which I had won with my own hands. But let the past be past. I said that I would not fight again till the Trojans should bring the fire near to my own ships. But now, for I see that the people are in great need, you may put on my armour, and lead my people to the fight. And, indeed, it is time to give help, for I see that the Trojans are gathered about the ships, and that the Greeks have scarce standing ground between their enemies and the sea. And I do not see anywhere either Diomed with his spear, nor King Agamemnon; only I hear the voice of Hector, as he calls his people to the battle. Go, therefore, Patroclus, and keep the fire from the ships. But when you have done this, come back and fight no more with the Trojans, for it is my business to conquer them, and you must not take my glory from me. And mind this also: when you feel the joy of battle in your heart, be not over-bold; go not near the wall of Troy, lest one of the gods meet you and harm you. For these gods love the Trojans, and especially the great archer Apollo with his deadly bow."
So these two talked together in the tent. But at the ships Ajax could hold out no longer. For the javelins came thick upon him and clattered on his helmet and his breastplate, and his shoulder was weary with the weight of his great shield. Heavily and hard did he breathe, and the great drops of sweat fell upon the ground. Then, at the last, Hector came near and struck at him with his sword. Him he did not hit, but he cut off the head of his spear. Great fear came on Ajax and he gave way, and the Trojans put torches to the ship's stern, and a great flame rose up into the air. When Achilles saw the flames, he struck his thigh with his hand and said: "Make haste, Patroclus, for I see the fire rising from the ships."
Then Patroclus put on the armour—breastplate and shield and helmet—and bound the sword on his shoulder, and took a great spear in his hand. But the great Pelian spear he did not take, for that no man could wield but Achilles only. Then the charioteer yoked the horses to the chariot. Two of the horses, Bayard and Piebald, were immortal, but the third was of a mortal breed. And while he did this, Achilles called the Myrmidons to battle. Fifty ships he had brought to Troy, and fifty men in each. And when they were assembled he said: "Forget not, ye Myrmidons, what you said when first I kept you back from the battle, how angry you were, and how you blamed me, complaining that I kept you back against your will. Now you have the thing that you desired."
So the Myrmidons went forth to battle in close array, helmet to helmet and shield to shield, close together as are the stones which a builder builds into a wall. Patroclus went before them in the chariot of Achilles, with the charioteer by his side. And as they went, Achilles went to the chest which stood in his tent, and opened it, and took from it a great cup which Thetis his mother had given him. No man drank out of that cup but Achilles only. Nor did he pour libations out of it to any of the gods but to Zeus only. First he cleansed the cup with sulphur and then with water from the spring. After this he filled it with wine, and standing in the space before the tent he poured out from it to Zeus, saying: "O Zeus, this day I send my dear comrade to the battle. Be thou with him; make him strong and bold, and give him glory, and bring him home safe to the ships, and my people with him."
So he prayed; and Father Zeus heard his prayer: part he granted, but part he denied.
Meanwhile Patroclus with the Myrmidons had come to the place where the battle was so hot, namely the ship to which Hector had put the torch and set it on fire. And when the Trojans saw him and the armour he wore, they thought that it had been Achilles, who had put away his anger, and had come forth again to the battle. Nor was it long before they turned to flee. So the battle rolled back again to the trench, and many chariots of the Trojans were broken, for when they crossed it for the second time they took their chariots with them; but the horses of Achilles sprang across it in their stride, so nimble were they and so strong. And great was the fear of the Trojans; even the great Hector fled. The heart of Patroclus was set upon slaying him, for he had forgotten the command which Achilles had laid upon him, that when he had saved the ships from the fire he should not fight any more. But though he followed hard after him, he could not overtake him, so swift were the Trojan horses. Then he left following him and turned back, and caused the chariot to be driven backwards and forwards, so that he might slay the Trojans as they sought to fly to the city.
But there were some among the Trojans and their allies who would not flee. Among these was Sarpēdon the Lycian; and he, when he saw his people flying before Patroclus, cried aloud to them: "Stand now and be of good courage: I myself will try this great warrior and see what he can do." So he leapt down from his chariot, and Patroclus also leapt down from his, and the two rushed at each other, fierce and swift as two eagles. Sarpēdon carried a spear in either hand, and he threw both of them together. With the one he wounded to the death one of the horses of Achilles, that which was of a mortal strain, but the other missed its aim, flying over the left shoulder of Patroclus. But the spear of Patroclus missed not its aim. Full on the heart of Sarpēdon it fell, and broke through his armour, and bore him to the earth. He fell, as a pine or a poplar falls on the hills before the woodman's axe. And as he fell, he called to Glaucus his kinsman: "Now show yourself a man, O Glaucus; suffer not the Greeks to spoil me of my arms." And when he had said so much, he died. Now Glaucus was still troubled by the wound which Teucer the archer had given him. But when he heard the voice of Sarpēdon he prayed to Apollo, saying: "Give me now strength that I may save the body of my kinsman from the hands of the Greeks." And Apollo heard him and made him whole of his wound. Then he called first to the Lycians, saying, "Fight for the body of your king," and next to the Trojans, that they should honour the man who had come from his own land to help them, and lastly to Hector himself, who had now returned to the battle. "Little care you, O Hector," he said, "for your allies. Lo! Sarpēdon is dead, slain by Patroclus. Will you suffer the Myrmidons to carry off his body and do dishonour to it?"
Hector was much troubled by these words, and so were all the men of Troy, for among the allies there were none braver than Sarpēdon. So they charged and drove back the Greeks from the body; and the Greeks charged again in their turn. No one would have known the great Sarpēdon as he lay in the middle of the tumult, so covered was he with dust and blood. But at last the Greeks drove back the Trojans from the body, and stripped it of its arms; but the body itself they harmed not. For at the bidding of Zeus, Apollo came down and carried it out of the tumult, and gave it to Sleep and Death that they should carry it to the land of Lycia. Then again Patroclus forgot the commands of Achilles, for he thought in his heart, "Now shall I take the city of Troy," for, when he had driven the Trojans up to the very gates, he himself climbed on to an angle of the wall. Three times did he climb upon it, and three times did Apollo push him back, laying his hand upon the boss of his shield. And when Patroclus climbed for the fourth time, then Apollo cried to him in a dreadful voice: "Go back, Patroclus; it is not for you to take the great city of Troy, no, nor even for Achilles, who is a far better man than you." Then Patroclus went back, for he feared the anger of the god. But though he thought no more of taking the city, he raged no less against the Trojans. Then did Apollo put it into the heart of Hector to go against the man. So Hector said to his charioteer: "We will see whether we cannot drive back this Patroclus, for it must be he; Achilles he is not, though he wears his armour." When Patroclus saw them coming he took a great stone from the ground, and cast it at the pair. The stone struck the charioteer full on the helmet. And as the man fell head foremost from the chariot, Patroclus laughed aloud, and said: "See now, how nimble is this man! See how well he dives! He might get many oysters from the bottom of the sea, diving from the deck of a ship, even though it should be a stormy day. Who would have thought that there should be such skilful divers in Troy?"
Three times did Patroclus charge into the ranks of the Trojans, and each time he slew nine warriors. But when he charged the fourth time, then, for the hour of his doom was come, Apollo stood behind him, and gave him a great blow on his neck, so that he could not see out of his eyes. And the helmet fell from his head, so that the plumes were soiled with the dust. Never before had it touched the ground, from the first day when Achilles wore it. The spear also which he carried in his hand was broken, and the shield fell from his arm, and the breastplate on his body was loosened. Then, as he stood without defence and was confused, one of the Trojans wounded him in the back with his spear. And when he tried to hide himself behind his comrades, for the wound was not mortal, Hector thrust at him with his spear, and hit him above the hip, and he fell to the ground. And when the Greeks saw him fall they sent up a dreadful cry. Then Hector stood over him, and said: "Did you think, Patroclus, that you would take our city, and slay us with the sword, and carry away our wives and daughters in your ships? This you will not do, for, lo! I have overcome you with my spear, and the fowls of the air shall eat your flesh. And the great Achilles cannot help you at all. Did he not say to you, 'Strip the fellow's shirt from his back and bring it back to me'? and you, in your folly, thought that you would do it."
Patroclus answered: "You boast too much, O Hector. It is not by your hand that I am overcome; it has been Apollo who has brought me to my death. Had twenty such as you come against me, truly I had slain them all. And mark you this: death is very near to you, for the great Achilles will slay you."
Then said Hector: "Why do you prophesy my death? Who has shown you the things to come? Maybe, as I have slain you, so shall I slay the great Achilles." So Hector spoke, but Patroclus was dead already. Then he drew the spear from the wound, and went after the charioteer of Achilles, hoping to slay him and take the chariot for spoil, but the horses were so swift that he could not come up with them.
Very fierce was the fight for the body of Patroclus, and many warriors fell both on this side and on that; and the first to be killed was the man who had wounded him in the back; for when he came near to strip the dead man of his arms, King Menelaüs thrust at him with his spear and slew him. He slew him, but he could not strip off his arms, because Hector came and stood over the body, and Menelaüs did not dare to stand up against him, knowing that he was not a match for him in fighting. Then Hector spoiled the body of Patroclus of the arms which the great Achilles had given him to wear. But when he laid hold of the body, and began to drag it away to the ranks of the Trojans, the Greater Ajax came forward, and put his big shield before it. As a lioness stands before its cubs and will not suffer the hunter to take them, so did Ajax stand before the body of Patroclus and defend it from the Trojans. And Hector drew back when he saw him. Then Glaucus the Lycian spoke to him in great anger: "Are you not ashamed, O Hector, that you dare not stand before Ajax? How will you and the other Trojans save your city? Truly your allies will not fight any more for you, for though they help you much, yet you help them little. Did not Sarpēdon fall fighting for you, and yet you left him to be a prey to the dogs? And now, had you only stood up against this Ajax, and dragged away the body of Patroclus, we might have made an exchange, giving him and his arms, and receiving Sarpēdon from the Greeks. But this may not be, because you are afraid of Ajax, and flee before him when he comes to meet you."
Hector answered: "I am not afraid of Ajax, nor of any man. But this I know, that Zeus gives victory now to one and now to another; this only do I fear, and this only, to go against the will of Zeus. But wait here, and see whether or no I am a coward."
Now he had sent the armour of Patroclus to the city; but when he heard Glaucus speak in this manner, he ran after the men who were carrying it and overtook them, and stripped off his own armour, and put on the armour of Achilles. And when Zeus saw him do this thing he was angry, and said to himself, "These arms will cost Hector dear." Nevertheless, when he came back to the battle, all men were astonished, for he seemed like to the great Achilles himself. Then the Trojans took heart again, and charged all together, and the battle grew fiercer and fiercer. For the Greeks said to themselves: "It were better that the earth should open her mouth and swallow us up alive than that we let the Trojans carry off the body of Patroclus." And the Trojans said to themselves: "Now if we must all be slain fighting for the body of this man, be it so; but we will not yield." Now while they fought the horses of Achilles stood apart from the battle, and the tears rushed down from their eyes, for they loved Patroclus, they knew that he was dead. Still they stood in the same place; they would not enter into the battle, neither would they turn back to the ships. And the charioteer could not move them with the lash, or with threats, or with gentle words. As a pillar stands by the grave of some dead man, so they stood; their heads drooped to the ground, and the tears trickled down from their eyes, and their long manes were trailed in the dust.
When Zeus saw them he pitied them in his heart. And he said: "It was not well that I gave you, immortal as you are, to a mortal man, for of all things that live and move upon the earth, surely man is the most miserable. But Hector shall not have you. It is enough for him, yea, it is too much that he should have the arms of Achilles."
Then the horses moved from their place, and obeyed the driver as before; and Hector could not take them, though he greatly desired so to do.
All this time the battle raged yet more and more fiercely about the body of Patroclus. At the last, when the Greeks were growing weary, and the Trojans pressed them more and more, Ajax said to Menelaüs, for these two had borne themselves more bravely in the battle than all the others: "See now if you can find Antilŏchus, Nestor's son, and bid him run and carry the news to Achilles that Patroclus is dead, and that the Greeks and Trojans are fighting over his body." So Menelaüs went, and found Antilŏchus on the left side of the battle. And he said to him: "I have bad news for you. You see that the Trojans prevail in the battle, to-day. And now Patroclus lies dead. Run, therefore, to Achilles and tell him; maybe he can yet save the body; as for the arms, Hector has them."
Antilŏchus was greatly troubled to hear the news; his eyes filled with tears, and he could not speak for grief. But he gave heed to the words of Menelaüs, and ran to tell Achilles what had happened.
And Menelaüs went back to Ajax, where he had left him standing close by the body of Patroclus. And he said to him: "I have found Antilŏchus, and he is carrying the news to Achilles. Yet I doubt whether he will come to the battle, however great his anger may be and his grief, for he has no armour to cover him. Let us think, therefore, how we may best save the body of Patroclus from the Trojans."
Ajax said: "Do you and Meriŏnes run forward and lift up the body and carry it away." So Menelaüs and Meriŏnes ran forward and lifted up the body. But when they would have carried it away, then the Trojans ran fiercely at them. So the battle raged; neither could the Greeks save the body, nor could the Trojans carry it away. Meanwhile Antilŏchus came to Achilles where he sat by the door of his tent. With a great fear in his heart he sat, for he saw that the Greeks fled and the Trojans pursued after them. Then said Nestor's son: "I bring bad news. Patroclus is dead, and Hector has his arms, but the Greeks and Trojans are fighting for his body."
Then Achilles threw himself upon the ground, and took the dust in his hands, and poured it on his head, and tore his hair. And all the women wailed aloud. And Antilŏchus sat weeping; but while he wept he held the hands of Achilles, for he was afraid that in his anger he would do himself a mischief. But his mother heard his cry, where she sat in the depths of the sea, and came to him and laid her hand upon his head, and said: "Why do you weep, my son? Tell me; hide not the matter from me." Achilles answered: "All that you asked from Zeus, and that he promised to do, he has done: but what is the good? The man whom I loved above all others is dead, and Hector has my arms, for Patroclus was wearing them. As for me, I do not wish to live except to avenge myself upon him."
Then said Thetis: "My son, do not speak so: do you not know that when Hector dies, the hour is near when you also must die?"
Then Achilles cried in great anger: "I would that I could die this hour, for I sent my friend to his death; and I, who am better in battle than all the Greeks, could not help him. Cursed be the anger that sets men to strive with one another, as it made me strive with King Agamemnon. And as for my fate—what matters it? Let it come when it may, so that I may first have vengeance on Hector. Seek not, therefore, my mother, to keep me back from the battle."
Thetis answered: "Be it so, my son: only you cannot go without arms, and these Hector has. But to-morrow I will go to Hephæstus, that he may make new arms for you."
But while they talked, the Trojans pressed the Greeks still more and more, so that Ajax himself could no longer stand against them. Then truly they would have taken the body of Patroclus, had not Zeus sent Iris to Achilles with this message: "Rouse yourself, son of Peleus, or, surely, Patroclus will be a prey to the dogs of Troy." But Achilles said: "How shall I go? For I have no arms, nor do I know of any whose arms I could wear. I might shift with the shield of great Ajax; but this he is carrying, as is his custom, in the front of the battle.
Then said Iris: "Go only to the trench and show yourself, for the Trojans will be swift and draw back, and the Greeks will have a breathing-space."
So Achilles ran to the trench. And Athené put her great shield about his shoulders, and set as it were a circle of gold about his head, so that it shone like to a flame of fire. To the trench he went, but he obeyed the word of his mother, and did not mix in the battle. Only he shouted aloud, and his voice was as the voice of a trumpet. It was a terrible sound to hear, and the hearts of the men of Troy were filled with fear. The very horses were frightened, and started aside, so that the chariots clashed together. Three times did Achilles shout across the trench, and three times did the Trojans fall back. Twelve chiefs perished that hour; some were wounded by their own spears, and some were trodden down by their own horses; for the whole army was overcome with fear, from the front ranks to the hindermost. Then the Greeks took up the body of Patroclus from the place where it lay, and put it on the bier, and carried it to the tent of Achilles, and Achilles himself walked by its side weeping. This had been a sad day, and to bring it sooner to an end Hera commanded the sun to set before his time. So did the Greeks rest from their labours.
On the other side of the field, the Trojans held an assembly. And one of the elders stood up and said: "Let us not wait here for the morning. It was well for us to fight at the ships so long as Achilles was angry with King Agamemnon. But now this has ceased to be. To-morrow will he come back to the battle, the fiercer on account of his great grief, Patroclus being slain. Surely it will be an evil day for us, if we wait for his coming. Let us go back to the city, for its walls are high and its gates are strong, and the man who seeks to pass them will perish."
But Hector said: "This is bad counsel. Shall we shut ourselves up in the city? Are not our goods wasted? Have we enough wherewith to feed the people? Nay; we will watch to-night and to-morrow we will fight. And if Achilles comes to the battle, I will meet him, for the gods give victory now to one man and now to another."
And the people clapped their hands, for they were foolish, and knew not what the morrow would bring forth.
Meanwhile there was a great mourning for Patroclus in the camp of the Greeks. And Achilles stood up in the midst of the people and said: "Truly the gods do not fulfil the thoughts of men. Did I not say to the father of Patroclus that I would return with him, bringing back our portion of the spoils of Troy? And now he is dead; nor shall I return to the house of Peleus my father, for I too must die in this land. But I care not, if only I may have vengeance upon Hector. Truly I will not bury Patroclus till I can bring the head and the arms of Hector with which to honour him." So they washed the body of Patroclus, and put ointment into the wounds, and laid it on a bed, and covered with a linen cloth from the head to the feet, putting over the linen cloth a white robe. And all night the Myrmidons made lamentations for him.
Thetis went to the house of Hephæstus, who was the god of all who worked in gold and silver and iron. She found him busy at his work, for he was making cauldrons for the palace of the gods. They had golden wheels underneath them with which they could run of themselves into the chambers of the palace, and come back of themselves as might be wanted. The Lady Grace who was wife to Hephæstus saw Thetis, and caught her by the hand, and said: "O Goddess, whom we love and honour, what business brings you here? Gladly will we serve you." And she led her into the house, and set her on a chair that was adorned with silver studs, and put a stool under her feet. Then she called to her husband, saying: "Thetis is here, and wants something from you. Come quickly." He answered: "Truly there could be no guest more welcome than Thetis. When my mother cast me out from her house because I was lame, then Thetis and her sister received me in their house under the sea. Nine years I dwelt with them, yes, and hammered many a trinket for them in a hollow cave that was close by. Truly I would give the price of my life to serve Thetis." Then he put away his tools, and washed himself, and took a staff in his hands and came into the house, and sat down upon a chair, and said: "Tell me all that is in your mind, for I will do all that you desire if only it can be done." Then Thetis told him of how her son Achilles had been put to shame by King Agamemnon, and of his anger, and of all that came to pass afterwards, and of how Patroclus had been slain in battle, and how the arms were lost. And having told this story, she said: "Make for my son Achilles, I pray you, a shield, and a helmet, and greaves for his legs, and a breastplate."
"That will I do," answered Hephaestus, "I will make for him such arms as men will wonder at when they see them. Would that I could keep from him as easily the doom of death!"
So he went to his forge and turned the bellows to the fire, and bade them work, for they did not need a hand to work them. And he put copper and tin and gold and silver into the fire to make them soft, and set the anvil, and took the hammer in one hand and the tongs in the other.
First he made a shield, great and strong, with a silver belt by which a man might hold it. On it he made an image of the earth and the sky and the sea, with the sun and the moon and all the stars. Also he made images of two cities; in one city there was peace, and in the other city there was war. In the city of peace they led a bride to the house of her husband with music and dancing, and the women stood in the door to see the show. And in another part of the same city the judges sat, to judge the case of a man who had been slain. One man said that he had paid the price of blood, for if one man slays another he must pay a price for him, and the other man said the price was not paid. Round about the city of war there was an army of besiegers and on the wall stood men defending it. Also the men of this same city had set an ambush by a river, at a place where the cattle came down to drink. And when the cattle came down the men that lay in ambush rose up quickly, and took them, and slew the herdsmen. And the army of the besiegers heard the cry, and rode on horses, and came quickly to the river and fought with the men who had taken the cattle. Also he made the image of one field in which men were ploughing, and of another in which reapers reaped the corn, and behind the reapers came boys who gathered the corn in their arms and bound it in sheaves; at the top of the field stood the master, glad at heart because the harvest was good. Also he made a vineyard, and through the vineyard there was a path, and along the path went young men and maids bearing baskets of grapes, and in the midst stood a boy holding a harp of gold, who sang a pleasant song. Also he made a herd of oxen going from the stalls to the pasture; and close by two lions had laid hold of a great bull and were devouring it, and the dogs stood far off and barked. A sheep-fold also he made, and a dance of men and maids; the men wore daggers of gold hanging from silver belts, and the maids had gold crowns round their heads. And round about the shield he made ocean like to a great river. Also he made a breastplate, and a great helmet with a ridge of gold, in which the plumes should be set, and greaves of tin for the legs. When he had finished all his work, he gave the shield and the other things to Thetis. And she flew, swift as a hawk, to where her son abode by the ships. She found him lying on the ground, holding in his arms the body of Patroclus, weeping aloud, while his men lamented.
The goddess stood in the midst, and caught her son by the hand and said: "Come now, let us leave the dead man; it was the will of the gods that he should die. But you must think about other things. Come now and take this gift from Hephæstus, armour beautiful exceedingly, such as man has never yet worn."
And as she spoke, she cast the armour down at the feet of Achilles. It rattled loud as it fell, and shone so brightly that the eyes of the Myrmidons were dazzled by it. But Achilles took up the arms from the ground, glad at heart to see them, and said: "Mother, these indeed are such arms as can be made in heaven only. Gladly will I put them on for the battle. Yet one thing troubles me. I fear lest decay should come on the body of Patroclus, before I can do it such honour as I desire."
But Thetis answered: "Let this not trouble you. I will keep the body from decay. But do you make peace with the king and prepare yourself for the battle." And she put precious things such as are known only in heaven into the nostrils of the dead man to keep him from decay.
Achilles went along by the ships, shouting with a loud voice to the Greeks that they should come to the battle. And they all came; there was not a man left, even those who had been used to stay behind, the men who looked after the ships, and they who had the care of the food. They all followed when Achilles came back to the war. And the chiefs came to the assembly, some of them, as Diomed and Ulysses and King Agamemnon himself, leaning on their spears because their wounds were fresh.
Achilles stood up and spoke: "It was a foolish thing, King Agamemnon, that we quarrelled about a girl. Many a Greek who is now dead had still been alive but for this, and the Trojans would not have profited by our loss. But let bygones be bygones. Here I make an end of my anger. Make haste, then, and call the Greeks to battle, and we will see whether the Trojans will fight by the ships or by their own walls."
Then King Agamemnon answered from the place where he sat: "Listen, ye Greeks. You have blamed me for this quarrel; yet it was not I, but the Fury who turns the thoughts of men to madness, that brought it about. Nevertheless it is for me to make amends. And this I will do, giving thee all the gifts which Ulysses promised in my name. Stay here till my people bring them from the ships." Achilles said: "Give the gifts, O King, if you are pleased so to do, or keep them for yourself. There is one thing only I care for, to get to the battle without delay."
Then said the wise Ulysses: "Achilles, do not make the Greeks fight before they have eaten, for the battle will be long, because the gods have put courage into the hearts of the Trojans. A man who has not eaten cannot fight from morning to sunset, for his limbs grow weary, and he thinks about food and drink. Let us bid the people therefore disperse, and make ready a meal, and let King Agamemnon first send the gifts to your tent, and then let him make a feast, as is right when friends who have quarrelled make peace again." King Agamemnon answered: "You speak well, Ulysses. Do you yourself fetch the gifts, and my people shall make ready a feast." Achilles said: "How can I think of feasting when Patroclus lies dead? Let there be no delay, and let the Greeks sup well when they have driven the Trojans into their city. As for me, neither food nor drink shall pass my lips."
But Ulysses answered: "You are by far stronger than I am, O son of Peleus, but I am older, and have seen many things. Ask not the Greeks to fast because of the dead. For men die every day, and every day would be a day of fasting. Rather let us bury our dead out of our sight, and mourn for them for a day, and then harden our hearts to forget. And let them who are left strengthen themselves with meat and drink, that they may fight the better."
Then Ulysses went to the ships of King Agamemnon and fetched thence the gifts, and the cauldrons and the horses and the gold, and the women slaves, and chief of all the girl Briseïs, and he took them to the tent of Achilles. And when Briseïs saw Patroclus lying dead upon the couch, she beat her breast and her face and wailed aloud, for he had been gentle and good. And the other women wept with her, thinking each of her own troubles.
When the King and the chiefs would have had Achilles feast with them he refused. "I will not eat or drink," he said, "till I have had vengeance. Often, O Patroclus, have you made ready the meal when we were going to battle, and now you lie dead. I had not grieved so much if my old father or my only son had died. Often have I said to myself: 'I, indeed shall die in this place, but Patroclus will go back and show my son all that was mine, goods and servants and palace.' "
And as he wept the old men wept with him, thinking each of those whom he had left at home.
Then the Greeks took their meal, the chiefs with King Agamemnon, and the others each with his own company. But Achilles sat fasting. Then Zeus said to Athené: "Do you not care for your dear Achilles? See how the other Greeks eat and drink, but he sits fasting." So Athené flew down from heaven, and poured heavenly food into the breast of Achilles that his strength might not fail for hunger. But he did not know what she did; only he felt the new strength in him. Then he armed himself with the arms which Thetis brought to him from Hephæstus, and took from its case the great Pelian spear which no man but he could wield. After this he climbed into his chariot, and he said to his horses: "Take care now, Bayard and Piebald, that you do not leave your master to-day, as you left Patroclus yesterday, dead on the field." Then Hera gave a voice to the horse Bayard, and he said: "It was not our fault, O Achilles, that Patroclus died. It was Apollo who slew him, but Hector had the glory. You too, some day, shall be slain by a god and a man." Achilles answered: "I know my doom, but I care not so that I may have vengeance on the Trojans."
When the two armies were set in order against each other, Apollo said to Ænēas: "Ænēas, where are now your boastings that you would stand up against Achilles and fight with him?"
Ænēas answered: "That, indeed, I said long ago in days that are past. Once I stood up against him; it was when he took the town of Lyrnessus. But he overcame me, and I fled before him, and but for my nimble feet I had been slain that day. Surely a god is with him, and makes his spear to fly so strongly and so straight."
But Apollo answered: "But if he is the son of a goddess, so also are you; and, indeed, your mother is greater than his, for she is the child of Zeus, and Thetis is but a daughter of the Sea. Drive straight at him with your spear, and do not fear his fierce words and looks."
So Ænēas came forth out of the press to meet Achilles. And Achilles said to him: "What mean you, Ænēas? do you think to slay me? Have the Trojans promised that they will have you for their king, or that they will give you a choice portion of land, ploughland and orchard, if only you can prevail over me? You will not find it an easy thing. Have you forgotten the day when you fled before me at Lyrnessus?"
Ænēas said: "Son of Peleus, you will not frighten me with words, for I also am the son of a goddess. Come, let us try who is the better of us two."
So he cast his spear, and it struck full on the shield of Achilles, and made so dreadful a sound that the hero himself was frightened. But the shield that a god had made was not to be broken by the spear of a mortal man. It pierced, indeed the first fold and the second, which were of bronze, but it was stopped by the third, which was of gold, and there were two more folds, and these of tin. Now Achilles threw his spear. Easily it pierced the shield of the Trojan, and though it did not wound him it came so near that he was deadly frightened. Yet he did not fly, for when Achilles drew his sword and rushed at him, he took up a great stone from the ground to throw at him. Nevertheless he would have been most certainly slain but for the help of the gods. For it was decreed that he and his children after him should reign in the time to come over the men of Troy. Therefore Poseidon himself, though for the most part he had no love for the Trojans, caught him up and carried him out of the battle; but first he took Achilles' spear out of the shield and laid it at the hero's feet. Much did he marvel to see it. "Here is a great wonder," he cried, "that I see with my eyes. My spear that I threw I see lying at my feet, but the man at whom I threw it I see not. Truly this Ænēas is dear to the gods."
Then he rushed into the battle, slaying as he went. Hector would have met him, but Apollo said: "Fight not with Achilles, for he is stronger than you and will slay you." So Hector stood aside. Yet when he saw the youngest of his brothers slain before his eyes, he could bear it no longer and rushed to meet Achilles. Right glad was Achilles to see him, saying to himself: "The time is come; this is the man who killed Patroclus." And to Hector he said: "Come and taste of death." But Hector answered: "You will not frighten me with words, son of Peleus, for though one man be stronger than another, yet it is Zeus who gives the victory."
Then he cast his spear, but Athené turned it aside with a breath. And when Achilles leapt upon him with a shout, then Apollo snatched him away. Three times did he leap at him, and three times he struck only the mist. The fourth time he cried with a terrible voice: "Dog, these four times you have escaped from death, but I shall meet you again when Apollo is not at hand to help you."
And now as the Trojans fled before Achilles, they came to the river Xanthus, and they leapt into it till it was full of horses and men. Achilles left his spear upon the bank and rushed into the water, having only his sword. And the Trojans were like to fishes in the sea when they fly from a dolphin—in rocks and shallows they hide themselves, but the great beast devours them apace. There was but one man of them all who dared to stand up against him. When Achilles saw him he said, "And who are you that dare to stand up against me?" And the man said, "I am the son of Axius, the river god, and I come from the land of Pæonia." And as he spoke he cast two spears, one with each hand, for he could use both hands alike. The one struck on the shield and pierced two folds, but was stayed in the third, as the spear of Ænēas had been; with the other he grazed the right hand of Achilles, so that the blood gushed forth. Then Achilles cast his spear but missed his aim, and the spear stood fast in the river bank. Then the other laid hold of it and tried to drag it forth. Three times he tried, but could not move it; the fourth time he tried to break it. But as he tried Achilles slew him. Yet he had this glory that he alone wounded the great Achilles.
But Achilles had to fight not only with mortal men, but with the god of the river also. For when the god of the river saw that Achilles was slaying many both of the Trojans and of the allies, he took upon himself the form of a man, and said to Achilles: "Without doubt, O Achilles, you are the greatest warrior among all the sons of men; for not only are you stronger than all others, but the gods themselves help you and protect you. It may be that they have given you to destroy all the sons of Troy; nevertheless I require of you that you depart from me, and do that which you have to do upon the plain, for my streams are choked with the multitude of those whom you have slain, and I cannot pass to the sea."
Achilles answered: "I would not do anything that displeases you. Nevertheless I will make no end of slaying the Trojans till they have made their way into the city, or till I have come face to face with Hector, and either slay him or be slain, as the gods may please."
Then Achilles turned again to the Trojans and slew still more of them. Then the river rose up against Achilles with all his might, and beat upon his shield, so that he could not stand upon his feet. He caught hold, therefore, of a lime tree that grew upon the bank; but the tree broke away from its place with all its roots, and lay across the river and stopped it from flowing, for it had many branches. Then Achilles was afraid, and climbed out of the water, and ran across the plain; but the River still followed him, for it wished to hinder him from destroying the men of Troy. For the Trojans were dear to the River because they honoured him with sacrifices. And though he was very swift of foot, yet it overtook him, for, indeed, the gods are mightier than men; and when he tried to stand up against it, it rushed upon him with a great wave upon his shoulders, and bowed his knees under him. Then Achilles lifted up his hands to heaven and cried: "Will no one of the gods have pity upon me and help me? Surely it would be better that Hector should slay me, for he is the bravest of men. This were better than that I should perish miserably as a boy whom a storm sweeps away when he is herding his cattle on the plain."
But the River raged yet more and more and he called to another river his brother, for there were two that flowed across the plains of Troy, saying: "Brother, let us two stay the fury of this man, or he will surely destroy the city of Priam, which is dear to us. Fill your stream to the highest, and bring against him a great wave, with trunks of trees and bodies of men whom he has slain. So we will sweep him away, and his people will have no need to heap up a mound of earth over his bones, for we will cover him with sand."
But when Hera saw this, she cried to the Fire-god, her son: "Come near and help us, and bring much fire with you, and burn the trees upon the bank of the river, yea, and the river itself."
So the Fire-god lit a great fire. First it burnt all the dead bodies on the plain; next it burnt all the trees that were on the banks of the river, the limes and the willows and the tamarisks; also it burnt the water-plants that were in the river; the very fishes and eels it scorched, so that they twisted hither and thither in their pain. Then the River cried to the Fire-god: "Cease now from burning me; Achilles may do what he will with the Trojans. What do I care for mortal men?" So the Fire-god ceased from burning him, and the river troubled Achilles no more.
King Priam stood on a tower of the wall and saw how Achilles was driving the men of Troy before him, and his heart was much troubled within him, thinking how he could help his people. So he went down and spoke to those who kept the gates: "Keep now the wicket-gates open, holding them in your hand, that the people may enter by them, for they are flying before Achilles." So the keepers held the wicket-gates in their hands, and the people made haste to come in; they were wearied with toil and consumed with thirst, and Achilles followed close after them. And the Greeks would have taken the city of Troy that hour but that Apollo saved it, for the gates being open they could enter with the Trojans, whereas the gates being shut, the people were left to perish. And the way in which he saved the city was this. He put courage into the heart of Agēnor, son to Antenor, standing also by him that he should not be slain. Agēnor, therefore, stood thinking to himself: "Shall I flee with these others? Not so: for Achilles will overtake me, so swift of foot is he, and shall slay me, and I shall die the death of a coward. Or shall I flee across the plain to Mount Ida, and hide myself in the thicket, and come back to the city when it is dark? But if he see me, he will pursue me and overtake me. Shall I not rather stand here and meet him before the gates? For he too is a mortal man, and may be slain by the spear."
Therefore he stood by the gates waiting for Achilles, for Apollo had given him courage. And when Achilles came near Agēnor cast his spear, and struck his leg beneath the knee, but the greave turned the spear, so strong was it, having been made by a god. But when Achilles rushed at him to slay him, Apollo lifted him up from the ground and set him safe within the walls. And that the men of Troy might have time to enter, the god took Agēnor's shape and fled before Achilles, and Achilles pursued him. Meanwhile the Trojans flocked into the city through the wicket-gates, nor did they stay to ask who was safe and who was dead, so great was their fear and such their haste. Only Hector remained outside the city, in front of the great gates which were called the Scæan Gates. All the while Achilles was fiercely pursuing the false Agēnor, till at last Apollo turned and spoke to him: "Why do you pursue me, swift-footed Achilles? Have you not yet found out that I am a god, and that all your fury is in vain? And now the Trojans are safe in the city, and you are here, far out of the way, seeking to kill one who cannot die."
Achilles answered him in great anger: "You have done me a great wrong in this. Surely of all the gods you are the one who loves mischief most. If it had not been for this many Trojans more would have fallen; but you have saved your favourites and robbed me of great glory. Oh that I could take vengeance on you! truly you would have paid dearly for your cheat."
Then he turned and ran towards the city, swift as a racehorse when it whirls a chariot across the plains. And his armour shone upon him as bright as Orion, which men call also the Dog, shines in the autumn, when the vintage is gathered, an evil light, bringing fevers to men. Old Priam saw him and groaned aloud, and stretched out his hands crying to Hector his son, where he stood before the gates waiting to fight with this terrible warrior:
"O my son, wait not for this man, lest he kill you, for indeed he is stronger than you. I would that the gods had such love for him as I have. Soon would he be food for dogs and vultures. Of many sons has he bereaved me, but if he should bereave me of you, then would not I only and the mother who bore you mourn, but every man and woman in Troy. Come within the walls, my dear son, come, for you are the hope of the city. Come, lest an evil fate come upon me in my old age, that I should see my sons slain with the sword and my daughters carried into captivity, and the babes dashed upon the ground."
So spoke old Priam, but he could not move the heart of his son. Then from the other side of the wall his mother, Queen Hecuba, cried to him. She wept aloud, and hoping that she might so persuade him, she laid bare her bosom, saying: "O Hector, my son, have pity on me. Think of the breast which in old days I gave you, when you were hungry, and stilled your crying. Come, I beseech you, inside the walls, and do not wait for him, or stand up in battle against him. For if he conquers you, then not only will you die, but dogs and vultures will eat your flesh far from here, by the ships of the Greeks."
But all her prayers were in vain, for he was still minded to await the coming of Achilles, and stand up to him in battle. And as he waited many thoughts passed through his mind: "Woe is me, if I go within the walls! Will not they reproach me who gave me good advice which I would not hear, saying that I should bring the people within the walls, when the great Achilles roused himself to the battle? Would that I had done this thing! it had been far better for us; but now I have destroyed the people. I fear the sons and daughters of Troy, lest they should say: 'Hector trusted in his strength, and he has brought the people whom he should have saved to harm.' It would be far better for me to stay here and meet the great Achilles, and either slay him, or, if it must be so, be slain by him. Or shall I lay down my shield and take off my helmet and lean my spear against the wall, and go meet him and say: 'We will give back the Fair Helen and all the riches which Paris carried off with her; also we will give all the precious things that there are in the city that the Greeks may divide them among themselves, taking an oath that we are keeping nothing back, if only you will leave us in peace'? But this is idle talk. He will have neither shame nor pity, and will slay me as I stand without defence before him. No: it is better far to meet in arms and see whether Zeus will give the victory to him or to me."
These were the things which Hector thought in his heart. And Achilles came near, shaking over his right shoulder the great Pelian spear, and the flashing of his arms was like to fire or to the sun when it rises. But Hector trembled when he saw him, and his heart failed him so that he turned his back and fled. Fast he fled from the place where he stood by the great Scæan Gate, and fast did Achilles pursue him, just as a hawk, which is more swift than all other birds, pursues a dove among the hills. The two ran past the watch-tower, and past the wild fig tree, along the wagon-road which ran round the walls, till they came to the springs from which the river rises. Two springs there were, one hot as though it had been heated with fire, and the other cold, cold as ice or snow, even in the summer. There were two basins of stone in which the daughters of Troy had been used to wash their garments; but that was in the old days, when there was peace, before the Greeks came to the land. Past the springs they ran; it was no race which men run for some prize, a sheep, maybe, or an ox-hide shield. Rather the prize was the life of Hector. So they ran round the city, and the Trojans on the wall and the Greeks upon the plain looked on. And the gods looked on as they sat in their palace on the top of Olympus. And Zeus said:
"Now this is a piteous thing which I see. My heart is grieved for Hector—Hector, who has never failed to honour me and the other gods with sacrifice. See how the great Achilles is pursuing him! Come, let us take counsel together. Shall we save him from death, or shall we let him fall by the spear of Achilles?"
Athené said: "What is this that you purpose? Will you save a man whom the fates appoint to die? Do this, if you will, but the other gods do not approve."
Then said Zeus: "This is a thing that I hate; but be it as you will." All this time Hector still fled, and Achilles still pursued. Hector sought for shelter in the walls, and Achilles ever drove him towards the plain. Just as in a dream, when one seems to fly and another seems to pursue, and the first cannot escape, neither can the second overtake, so these two ran. Yet Apollo helped Hector, giving strength to his knees, else he had not held out against Achilles, than whom there was no faster runner among the sons of men. Three times did they run round the city, but when they came for the fourth time to the springs Athené lighted from the air close to Achilles and said: "This is your day of glory, for you shall slay Hector, though he be a mighty warrior. It is his doom to die, and Apollo's self shall not save him. Stand here and take a breath, and I will make him meet you."
So Achilles stood leaning on his spear. And Athené took the shape of Deïphobus, and came near to Hector and said to him: "My brother, Achilles presses you hard; but come, we two will stand up against him." Hector answered, "O Deïphobus, I have always loved you above all my brothers, and now I love you still more, for you only have come to my help, while they remain within the walls." Then said Deïphobus: "Much did my father and my mother and my comrades entreat me to stay within the walls, but I would not, for I could not bear to leave you alone. Come, therefore, let us fight this man together, and see whether he will carry our spoils to the ships or we shall slay him here."
Then Hector said to Achilles: "Three times have you pursued me round the walls, and I dared not stand against you, but now I fear you no more. Only let us make this covenant. If Zeus gives me the victory to-day, I will give back your body to the Greeks, only I will keep your arms: do you, therefore, promise to do the same with me?"
Achilles frowned at him and said: "Hector, talk not of covenants to me. Men and lions make no oaths to each other, neither is there any agreement between wolves and sheep. Make no delay; let us fight together, that I may have vengeance for the blood of all my comrades whom thou hast slain, and especially of Patroclus, the man whom I loved beyond all others."
Then he threw the great spear, but Hector saw it coming and avoided it, crouching down so that the spear flew over his head and fixed itself in the ground. But Athené snatched it up and gave it back to Achilles; but this Hector did not see. Then said Hector to Achilles: "You have missed your aim, Achilles. Now see whether I have not a truer aim." Then he cast his spear, and the aim, indeed, was true, for it struck upon the shield; it struck, but it bounded far away. Then he cried to Deïphobus: "Give me another spear;" but lo! Deïphobus was gone. Then he knew that his end was come, and he said to himself: "The gods have brought my doom upon me. I thought that Deïphobus was with me; but he is behind the walls, and this was but a cheat with which Athené cheated me. Nevertheless, if I must die, let me at least die in the doing of such a deed as men shall remember in the years to come."
So he spoke, and drew his great sword, and rushed upon Achilles as an eagle rushes down from the clouds upon its prey. But never a blow did he deal; for Achilles ran to meet him, holding his shield before him and the plumes of his helmet streamed behind him as he ran, and the point of his spear was as bright as the evening star. For a moment he doubted where he should drive it home, for the armour of Patroclus which Hector wore guarded him well. But a spot there was, where the stroke of spear or sword is deadliest, by the collar-bone where the neck joins the shoulder. There he drove in the spear, and the point stood out behind the neck, and Hector fell in the dust. Then Achilles cried aloud: "Hector, you thought not of me when you slew Patroclus and spoiled him of his arms. But now you have fallen, and the dogs and vultures shall eat your flesh, but to him the Greeks will give honourable burial."
But Hector said, his voice now growing faint: "O Achilles, I entreat you, by all that you hold dear, to give my body to my father and mother that they may duly bury it. Large ransoms will they pay of gold and silver and bronze."
"Speak not to me of ransom," said Achilles. "Priam shall not buy thee back, no, not for your weight in gold."
Then Hector said: "I know you well, what manner of man you are, and that the heart in your breast is of iron. Only beware lest the anger of the gods come upon you for such deeds in the days when Paris and Apollo shall slay you hard by these very gates."
So speaking, he died. And Achilles said: "Die, dog that you are; but my doom I will meet when it shall please the gods to send it."
Then did Achilles devise a cruel thing. He pierced the ankle-bones of the dead man, and fastened the body with thongs of ox-hide to the chariot, and so dragged it to the ships.
Now Andromaché knew nothing of what had come to pass. She sat in her house weaving a great mantle, embroidered with flowers. And she bade her maidens make ready the bath for Hector, when he should come back from the battle, knowing not that he would never need it any more. Then there rose a great wailing from the walls, and she rose up from her weaving in great haste, and dropped the shuttle from her hands and said to the maids: "Come now, I must see what has happened, for I fear that some evil has come to the men of Troy. Maybe Hector is in danger, for he is always bold, and will fight in the front."
Then she ran along the street to the walls like a madwoman. And when she came to the walls she looked, and lo! the horses of Achilles were dragging the body of Hector to the ships. Then a sudden darkness came upon her, and she fell to the ground as though she were dead.
The Greeks made a great mourning for Patroclus, and paid due honours to him, the body of Hector was shamefully treated, for Achilles caused it to be dragged daily about the tomb of his friend. Then Zeus sent for Thetis and said to her: "Go to the camp, and bid your son give up the body of Hector for ransom; it angers me to see him do dishonour to the dead."
So Thetis went to the tent of Achilles and found him weeping softly for his friend, for the strength of his sorrow was now spent. And she said to him: "It is the will of Zeus that you give up the body of Hector for ransom." And he said: "Let it be so, if the gods will have it."
Then, again, Zeus sent Iris his messenger to King Priam, where he sat in his palace with his face wrapped in his mantle, and his sons weeping round him, and his daughter and his daughters-in-law wailing in their chambers of the palace. Iris said to him: "Be of good cheer; I come from Zeus. He bids you take precious gifts wherewith to buy back the body of Hector from Achilles. Nor will Achilles refuse to give it up."
So Priam rose from his place with gladness in his heart. Nor would he listen to the Queen when she would have kept him back.
"I have heard the voice of the messenger of Zeus, and I will go. And if I die, what do I care? Let Achilles slay me, so that I hold the body of my son once more in my arms."
Then he caused precious things to be put into a wagon, mantles which had never been washed, and rugs, and cloaks, twelve of each, and ten talents of gold, and cauldrons and basins, and a great cup of gold which the Thracians had given him. Nothing of his treasures did he spare if only he might buy back his son. Then he bade his sons yoke the mules to the wagon. With many bitter words did he speak to them; they were cowards, he said, an evil brood, speakers of lying words, and mighty only to drink wine. But they did not answer him. Then Priam himself yoked the horses to the chariot, the herald helping. But before he went he poured out wine to Zeus, and prayed, saying: "Hear me, O Father, and cause Achilles to pity me; give me also a lucky sign that I may go on this business with a good heart."
So Zeus sent an eagle, a mighty bird, and it flew with wings outstretched over the city, on the right hand of the King.
Then the King passed out of the gates. Before him the mules drew the wagon; these the herald drove. But Priam himself drove his horses. Then said Zeus to Hermes: "Go, guide the King, so that none of the Greeks may see him before he comes to the tent of Achilles." So Hermes fastened on his feet the winged sandals with which he flies, and he flew till he came to the plain of Troy. And when the wagon and the chariot were close to the tomb of Ilus, the herald spied a man (for Hermes had taken the shape of a man), and said to the King: "What shall we do? I see a man. Shall we flee, or shall we beg him to have mercy on us?" And the King was greatly troubled. But Hermes came near and said: "Whither do you go in the darkness with these horses and mules? Have you no fear of the Greeks? If any one should spy all this wealth, what then? You are old, and could scarcely defend yourselves. But be of good cheer; I will protect you, for you are like to my own dear father."
Priam answered: "Happy is he to have such a son. Surely the gods are with me, that I have met such a one as you."
Then said Hermes: "Tell me true; are you sending away these treasures for safe keeping, fearing that the city will be taken now that Hector is dead?"
Priam answered: "Who are you that you speak of Hector?"
Hermes said: "I am a Myrmidon, one of the people of Achilles, and often have I seen your son in the front of the battle."
Then the King asked him: "Is the body of Hector yet whole, or have the dogs and the vultures devoured it?"
Hermes answered: "It is whole, and without blemish, as fresh as when he died. Surely the gods love him, even though he be dead."
Then King Priam would have had the young man take a gift; but Hermes said: "I will take no gift unknown to my master. So to do would be wrong to him. But I will guide you to his tent, if you would go thither."
So he leapt into the chariot and took the reins. And when they came to the trench, where the sentinels were at their meal, Hermes caused a deep sleep to fall on them, and he opened the gate, and brought in the King with his treasures. And when they were at the tent of Achilles, the young man said: "I am Hermes, whom Father Zeus sent to be your guide. Go in and clasp him about the knees, and entreat him to have pity upon you." And he vanished out of his sight.
Then Priam went to the tent, where Achilles, who had just ended his meal, sat at the table, and caught his knees and kissed his hands, yea, the very hands which had slain so many of his sons. He said: "Have pity on me, O Achilles, thinking of your own father. He is old as I am, yet it goes well with him, so long as he knows that you are alive, for he hopes to see you coming back from the land of Troy. But as for me, I am altogether miserable. Many sons have I lost, and now the best of them all is dead, and lo! I kiss the hands which slew him."
Then the heart of Achilles was moved with pity and he wept, thinking now of his own father and now of the dead Patroclus. At last he stood up from his seat and said: "How did you dare to come to my tent, old man? Surely you must have a heart of iron. But come, sit and eat and drink; for this a man must do, for all the sorrows that come upon him."
But the King said: "Ask me not to eat and drink while my son lies unburied and without honour. Rather take the gifts which I have brought, with which to ransom him."
But Achilles frowned and said: "Vex me not; I am minded to give back the body of Hector, but let me go my own way." Then Priam held his peace, for he feared to rouse the anger of Achilles. Then Achilles went forth from the tent, and two companions with him. First they took the gifts from the wagon; only they left two cloaks and a tunic wherewith to cover the dead. And Achilles bade the women wash and anoint the body, only that they should do this apart from the tent, lest Priam should see his son, and lament aloud when the body was washed and anointed, Achilles himself lifted it in his arms, and put it on a litter, and his comrades put the litter in the wagon.
When all was finished, Achilles groaned and cried to his dead friend, saying: "Be not angry, O Patroclus, that I have given the body of Hector to his father. He has given a noble ransom, and of this you shall have your share as is meet."
Then he went back to his tent and said: "Your son, old man, is ransomed, and to-morrow shall you see him and take him back to Troy. But now let us eat and drink." And this they did. But when this had ended, they sat and looked at each other, and Achilles wondered at King Priam, so noble was he to behold, and Priam wondered to see how strong and how fair was Achilles.
Then Priam said: "Let me sleep, Achilles, for I have not slept since my son was slain." So they made up for him a bed, but not in the tent, lest, perhaps, one of the chiefs should come in and see him. But before he slept the King said: "Let there be a truce for nine days between the Greeks and the Trojans, that we may bury Hector." And Achilles said: "It shall be so; I will stay the war for so long."
But when the King slept, Hermes came again to him and said: "Do you sleep among your enemies, O Priam? Awake and depart, for although Achilles has taken ransom for Hector, what would not your sons have to pay for you if the Greeks should find you in the camp?"
Then the old man rose up. And the wise herald yoked the mules to the wagon and the horses to the chariot. And they passed through the camp of the Greeks, no man knowing, and came safe to the city of Troy.
On the ninth day the King and his people made a great burying for Hector, such as had never been seen in the landof Troy.
After these things came Memnon, a black warrior, who men said was the son of Morning. He slew Antilŏchus, son of Nestor, and was himself slain by Achilles. Not many days afterwards Achilles himself was slain near the Scæan Gates. It was by an arrow from the bow of Paris that he was killed, but the arrow was guided by Apollo.
Yet Troy was not taken. Then Helĕnus, the seer, having been taken prisoner by Ulysses, said: "You cannot take the city till you bring the man who has the arrows of Hercules." So they fetched the man, and he killed many Trojans with the arrows, and among them Paris, who was the cause of all this trouble.
Last of all the Greeks devised this plan. Some of the bravest of the chiefs hid themselves in a great horse of wood, and the rest made a pretence of going away, but went no further than to an island hard by. And when the Trojans had dragged the horse into the city, thinking it was an offering to the gods of the city, the chiefs let themselves out of it by night, and the other Greeks having come back, took the city in the tenth year from the beginning of the siege.
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