book 2

And they that dwelt in Aspledon and Orchomenus of the Minyae were led by Ascalaphus and Ialmenus, sons of Ares, whom, in the palace of Actor, son of Azeus, Astyoche, the honoured maiden, conceived of mighty Ares, when she had entered into her upper chamber;for he lay with her in secret. And with these were ranged thirty hollow ships. And of the Phocians Schedius and Epistrophus were captains, sons of great-souled Iphitus, son of Naubolus; these were they that held Cyparissus and rocky Pytho,and sacred Crisa and Daulis and Panopeus; and that dwelt about Anemoreia and Hyampolis, and that lived beside the goodly river Cephisus, and that held Lilaea by the springs of Cephisus. With these followed forty black ships.And their leaders busily marshalled the ranks of the Phocians, and made ready for battle hard by the Boeotians on the left. And the Loerians had as leader the swift son of Oïleus, Aias the less, in no wise as great as Telamonian Aias, but far less. Small of stature was he, with corselet of linen,but with the spear he far excelled the whole host of Hellenes and Achaeans. These were they that dwelt in Cynus and Opus and Calliarus and Bessa and Scarphe and lovely Augeiae and Tarphe and Thronium about the streams of Boagrius. With Aias followed forty black ships ofthe Locrians that dwell over against sacred Euboea. And the Abantes, breathing fury, that held Euboea and Chalcis and Eretria and Histiaea, rich in vines, and Cerinthus, hard by the sea, and the steep citadel of Dios; and that held Carystus and dwelt in Styra,—all these again had as leader Elephenor, scion of Ares, him that was son of Chalcodon and captain of the great-souled Abantes. And with him followed the swift Abantes, with hair long at the back, spearmen eager with outstretched ashen spears to rend the corselets about the breasts of the foemen.And with him there followed forty black ships.
And they that held Athens, the well-built citadel, the land of great-hearted Erechtheus, whom of old Athene, daughter of Zeus, fostered, when the earth, the giver of grain, had borne him; and she made him to dwell in Athens, in her own rich sanctuary,and there the youths of the Athenians, as the years roll on in their courses, seek to win his favour with sacrifices of bulls and rams;—these again had as leader Menestheus, son of Peteos. Like unto him was none other man upon the face of the earth for the marshalling of chariots and of warriors that bear the shield.Only Nestor could vie with him, for he was the elder. And with him there followed fifty black ships. And Aias led from Salamis twelve ships, and stationed them where the battalions of the Athenians stood. And they that held Argos and Tiryns, famed for its walls,and Hermione and Asine, that enfold the deep gulf, Troezen and Eïonae and vine-clad Epidaurus, and the youths of the Achaeans that held Aegina and Mases,—these again had as leaders Diomedes, good at the war-cry, and Sthenelus, dear son of glorious Capaneus.And with them came a third, Euryalus, a godlike warrior, son of king Mecisteus, son of Talaus; but leader over them all was Diomedes, good at the war-cry. And with these there followed eighty black ships. And they that held Mycenae, the well-built citadel,and wealthy Corinth, and well-built Cleonae, and dwelt in Orneiae and lovely Araethyrea and Sicyon, wherein at the first Adrastus was king; and they that held Hyperesia and steep Gonoessa and Pellene,and that dwelt about Aegium and throughout all Aegialus, and about broad Helice,—of these was the son of Atreus, lord Agamemnon, captain, with an hundred ships. With him followed most people by far and goodliest; and among them he himself did on his gleaming bronze, a king all-glorious, and was pre-eminent among all the warriors,for that he was noblest, and led a people far the most in number.
And they that held the hollow land of Lacedaemon with its many ravines, and Pharis and Sparta and Messe, the haunt of doves, and that dwelt in Bryseiae and lovely Augeiae, and that held Amyclae and Helus, a citadel hard by the sea,and that held Laas, and dwelt about Oetylus,—these were led by Agamemnon's brother, even Menelaus, good at the war-cry, with sixty ships; and they were marshalled apart. And himself he moved among them, confident in his zeal, urging his men to battle; and above all others was his heart fainto get him requital for his strivings and groanings for Helen's sake. And they that dwelt in Pylos and lovely Arene and Thryum, the ford of Alpheius, and fair-founded Aepy, and that had their abodes in Cyparisseïs and Amphigeneia and Pteleos and Helus and Dorium,where the Muses met Thamyris the Thracian and made an end of his singing, even as he was journeying from Oechalia, from the house of Eurytus the Oechalian: for he vaunted with boasting that he would conquer, were the Muses themselves to sing against him, the daughters of Zeus that beareth the aegis; but they in their wrath maimed him,and took from him his wondrous song, and made him forget his minstrelsy;—all these folk again had as leader the horseman, Nestor of Gerenia. And with him were ranged ninety hollow ships. And they that held Arcadia beneath the steep mountain of Cyllene, beside the tomb of Aepytus, where are warriors that fight in close combat;and they that dwelt in Pheneos and Orchomenus, rich in flocks, and Rhipe and Stratia and wind-swept Enispe; and that held Tegea and lovely Mantineia; and that held Stymphalus and dwelt in Parrhasia, —all these were led by the son of Ancaeus, Lord Agapenor,with sixty ships; and on each ship embarked full many Arcadian warriors well-skilled in fight. For of himself had the king of men, Agamemnon, given them benched ships wherewith to cross over the wine-dark sea, even the son of Atreus, for with matters of seafaring had they naught to do.
And they that dwelt in Buprasium and goodly Elis, all that part thereof that Hyrmine and Myrsinus on the seaboard and the rock of Olen and Alesium enclose between them—these again had four leaders, and ten swift ships followed each one, and many Epeians embarked thereon.Of these some were led by Amphimachus and Thalpius, of the blood of Actor, sons, the one of Cteatus and the other of Eurytus; and of some was the son of Amarynceus captain, even mighty Diores; and of the fourth company godlike Polyxeinus was captain, son of king Agasthenes, Augeias' son. And those from Dulichiuni and the Echinae, the holy isles, that lie across the sea, over against Elis, these again had as leader Meges, the peer of Ares, even the son of Phyleus, whom the horseman Phyleus, dear to Zeus, begat—he that of old had gone to dwell in Dulichium in wrath against his father.And with Meges there followed forty black ships. And Odysseus led the great-souled Cephallenians that held Ithaca and Neritum, covered with waving forests, and that dwelt in Crocyleia and rugged Aegilips; and them that held Zacynthus, and that dwelt about Samos,and held the mainland and dwelt on the shores over against the isles. Of these was Odysseus captain, the peer of Zeus in counsel. And with him there followed twelve ships with vermilion prows. And the Aetolians were led by Thoas, Andraemon's son, even they that dwelt in Pleuron and Olenus and Pylene and Chalcis, hard by the sea, and rocky Calydon. For the sons of great-hearted Oeneus were no more, neither did he himself still live, and fair-haired Meleager was dead, to whom had commands been given that he should bear full sway among the Aetolians. And with Thoas there followed forty black ships. And the Cretans had as leader Idomeneus, famed for his spear, even they that held Cnosus and Gortys, famed for its walls, Lyctus and Miletus and Lycastus, white with chalk, and Phaestus and Rhytium, well-peopled cities; and all they beside that dwelt in Crete of the hundred cities.Of all these was Idomeneus, famed for his spear, captain, and Meriones, the peer of Enyalius, slayer of men. And with these there followed eighty black ships.
And Tlepolemus, son of Heracles, a valiant man and tall, led from Rhodes nine ships of the lordly Rhodians,that dwelt in Rhodes sundered in three divisions—in Lindos and Ialysus and Cameirus, white with chalk. These were led by Tlepolemus, famed for his spear, he that was born to mighty Heracles by Astyocheia, whom he had led forth out of Ephyre from the river Selleïs,when he had laid waste many cities of warriors fostered of Zeus. But when Tlepolemus had grown to manhood in the well-fenced palace, forthwith he slew his own father's dear uncle, Licymnius, scion of Ares, who was then waxing old. So he straightway built him ships, and when he had gathered together much people,went forth in flight over the sea, for that the other sons and grandsons of mighty Heracles threatened him. But he came to Rhodes in his wanderings, suffering woes, and there his people settled in three divisions by tribes, and were loved of Zeus that is king among gods and men;and upon them was wondrous wealth poured by the son of Cronos. Moreover Nireus led three shapely ships from Syme, Nireus that was son of Aglaïa and Charops the king, Nireus the comeliest man that came beneath Ilios of all the Danaans after the fearless son of Peleus.Howbeit he was a weakling, and but few people followed with him. And they that held Nisyrus and Crapathus and Casus and Cos, the city of Eurypylus, and the Calydnian isles, these again were led by Pheidippus and Antiphus, the two sons of king Thessalus, son of Heracles.And with them were ranged thirty hollow ships. Now all those again that inhabited Pelasgian Argos, and dwelt in Alos and Alope and Trachis, and that held Phthia and Hellas, the land of fair women, and were called Myrmidons and Hellenes and Achaeans—of the fifty ships of these men was Achilles captain. Howbeit they bethought them not of dolorous war, since there was no man to lead them forth into the ranks. For he lay in idleness among the ships, the swift-footed, goodly Achilles, in wrath because of the fair-haired girl Briseïs,whom he had taken out of Lyrnessus after sore toil, when he wasted Lyrnessus and the walls of Thebe, and laid low Mynes and Epistrophus, warriors that raged with the spear, sons of king Evenus, Selepus' son. In sore grief for her lay Achilles idle; but soon was he to arise again.
And they that held Phylace and flowery Pyrasus, the sanctuary of Demeter, and Iton, mother of flocks, and Antron, hard by the sea, and Pteleos, couched in grass, these again had as leader warlike Protesilaus, while yet he lived; howbeit ere now the black earth held him fast.His wife, her two cheeks torn in wailing, was left in Phylace and his house but half established,1 while, for himself, a Dardanian warrior slew him as he leapt forth from his ship by far the first of the Achaeans. Yet neither were his men leaderless, though they longed for their leader; for Podarces, scion of Ares, marshalled them,he that was son of Phylacus' son, Iphiclus, rich in flocks, own brother to great-souled Protesilaus, and younger-born; but the other was the elder and the better man, even the warrior, valiant Protesilaus. So the host in no wise lacked a leader, though they longed for the noble man they had lost.And with him there followed forty black ships. And they that dwelt in Pherae beside the lake Boebeïs, and in Boebe, and Glaphyrae, and well-built Iolcus, these were led by the dear son of Admetus with eleven ships, even by Eumelus, whom Alcestis, queenly among women, bare to Admetus,even she, the comeliest of the daughters of Pelias. And they that dwelt in Methone and Thaumacia, and that held Meliboea and rugged Olizon, these with their seven ships were led by Philoctetes, well-skilled in archery,and on each ship embarked fifty oarsmen well skilled to fight amain with the bow. But Philoctetes lay suffering grievous pains in an island, even in sacred Lemnos, where the sons of the Achaeans had left him in anguish with an evil wound from a deadly water-snake. There he lay suffering;yet full soon were the Argives beside their ships to bethink them of king Philoctetes. Howbeit neither were these men leaderless, though they longed for their leader; but Medon marshalled them, the bastard son of Oïleus, whom Rhene bare to Oïleus, sacker of cities. And they that held Tricca and Ithome of the crags,and Oechalia, city of Oechalian Eurytus, these again were led by the two sons of Asclepius, the skilled leeches Podaleirius and Machaon. And with these were ranged thirty hollow ships.
And they that held Ormenius and the fountain Hypereia,and that held Asterium and the white crests of Titanus, these were led by Eurypylus, the glorious son of Euaemon. And with him there followed forty black ships. And they that held Argissa, and dwelt in Gyrtone, Orthe, and Elone, and the white city of Oloösson,these again had as leader Polypoetes, staunch in fight, son of Peirithous, whom immortal Zeus begat— even him whom glorious Hippodameia conceived to Peirithous on the day when he got him vengeance on the shaggy centaurs, and thrust them forth from Pelium, and drave them to the Aethices.Not alone was he, but with him was Leonteus, scion of Ares, the son of Caenus' son, Coronus, high of heart. And with them there followed forty black ships. And Gouneus led from Cyphus two and twenty ships, and with him followed the Enienes and the Peraebi, staunch in fight,that had set their dwellings about wintry Dodona, and dwelt in the ploughland about lovely Titaressus, that poureth his fair-flowing streams into Peneius; yet doth he not mingle with the silver eddies of Peneius, but floweth on over his waters like unto olive oil;for that he is a branch of the water of Styx, the dread river of oath. And the Magnetes had as captain Prothous, son of Tenthredon. These were they that dwelt about Peneius and Pelion, covered with waving forests. Of these was swift Prothous captain; and with him there followed forty black ships. These were the leaders of the Danaans and their lords. But who was far the best among them do thou tell me, Muse—best of the warriors and of the horses that followed with the sons of Atreus. Of horses best by far were the mares of the son of Pheres, those that Eumelas drave, swift as birds,like of coat, like of age, their backs as even as a levelling line could make. These had Apollo of the silver bow reared in Pereia, both of them mares, bearing with them the panic of war. And of warriors far best was Telamonian Aias, while yet Achilles cherished his wrath; for Achilles was far the mightiest,he and the horses that bare the peerless son of Peleus. Howbeit he abode amid his beaked, seafaring ships in utter wrath against Agamemnon, Atreus' son, shepherd of the host; and his people along the sea-shore took their joy in casting the discus and the javelin, and in archery;and their horses each beside his own car, eating lotus and parsley of the marsh, stood idle, while the chariots were set, well covered up, in the huts of their masters. But the men, longing for their captain, dear to Ares, roared hither and thither through the camp, and fought not.
So marched they then as though all the land were swept with fire; and the earth groaned beneath them, as beneath Zeus that hurleth the thunderbolt in his wrath, when he scourgeth the land about Typhoeus in the country of the Arimi, where men say is the couch of Typhoeus. Even so the earth groaned greatly beneath their tread as they went;and full swiftly did they speed across the plain. And to the Trojans went, as a messenger from Zeus that beareth the aegis, wind-footed, swift Iris with a grievous message. These were holding assembly at Priam's gate, all gathered in one body, the young men alike and the elders.And swift-footed Iris stood near and spake to them; and she made her voice like to that of Polites, son of Priam, who was wont to sit as a sentinel of the Trojans, trusting in his fleetness of foot, on the topmost part of the barrow of aged Aesyetes, awaiting until the Achaeans should sally forth from their ships.Likening herself to him swifted-footed Iris spake to Priam, saying: Old sir, ever are endless words dear to thee, now even as of yore in time of peace; but war unabating is afoot. Verily full often have I entered ere now into battles of warriors, but never yet have I seen a host so goodly and so great;for most like to the leaves or the sands are they, as they march over the plain to fight against the city. Hector, to thee beyond all others do I give command, and do thou even according to my word. Inasmuch as there are allies full many throughout the great city of Priam, and tongue differs from tongue among men that are scattered abroad;let each one therefore give the word to those whose captain he is, and these let him lead forth, when he has marshalled the men of his own city. So spake she, and Hector in no wise failed to know the voice of the goddess, but forthwith brake up the gathering; and they rushed to arms. The gates one and all were opened wide, and forth the folk hasted,both footmen and charioteers; and a great din arose. Now there is before the city a steep mound afar out in the plain, with a clear space about it on this side and on that; this do men verily call Batieia, but the immortals call it the barrow of Myrine, light of step.There on this day did the Trojans and their allies separate their companies. The Trojans were led by great Hector of the flashing helm, the son of Priam, and with him were marshalled the greatest hosts by far and the goodliest, raging with the spear.
Of the Dardanians again the valiant son of Anchises was captain,even Aeneas, whom fair Aphrodite conceived to Anchises amid the spurs of Ida, a goddess couched with a mortal man. Not alone was he; with him were Antenor's two sons, Archelochus and Acamas, well skilled in all manner of fighting. And they that dwelt in Zeleia beneath the nethermost foot of Ida,men of wealth, that drink the dark water of Aesepus, even the Troes, these again were led by the glorious son of Lycaon, Pandarus, to whom Apollo himself gave the bow. And they that held Adrasteia and the land of Apaesus, and that held Pityeia and the steep mount of Tereia,these were led by Adrastus and Araphius, with corslet of linen, sons twain of Merops of Percote, that was above all men skilled in prophesying, and would not suffer his sons to go into war, the bane of men. But the twain would in no wise hearken, for the fates of black death were leading them on. And they that dwelt about Percote and Practius, and that held Sestus and Abydus and goodly Arisbe, these again were led by Hyrtacus' son Asius, a leader of men—Asius, son of Hyrtacus, whom his horses tawny and tall had borne from Arisbe, from the river Selleïs. And Hippothous led the tribes of the Pelasgi, that rage with the spear, even them that dwelt in deep-soiled Larisa; these were led by Hippothous and Pylaeus, scion of Ares, sons twain of Pelasgian Lethus, son of Teutamus. But the Thracians Acamas led and Peirous, the warrior,even all them that the strong stream of the Hellespont encloseth. And Euphemus was captain of the Ciconian spearmen, the son of Ceas' son Troezenus, nurtured of Zeus. But Pyraechmes led the Paeonians, with curved bows, from afar, out of Amydon from the wide-flowing Axius—Axius the water whereof floweth the fairest over the face of the earth. And the Paphlagonians did Pylaemenes of the shaggy1 heart lead from the land of the Eneti, whence is the race of wild she-mules. These were they that held Cytorus and dwelt about Sesamon, and had their famed dwellings around the river Partheniusand Cromna and Aegialus and lofty Erythini. But of the Halizones Odius and Epistrophus were captains from afar, from Alybe, where is the birth-place of silver.
And of the Mysians the captains were Chromis and Ennomus the augur; howbeit with his auguries he warded not off black fate,but was slain beneath the hands of the son of Aeacus, swift of foot, in the river, where Achilles was making havoc of the Trojans and the others as well. And Phorcys and godlike Ascanius led the Phrygians from afar, from Ascania, and were eager to fight in the press of battle. And the Maeonians had captains twain, Mesthles and Antiphus,the two sons of TaIaemenes, whose mother was the nymph of the Gygaean lake; and they led the Maeonians, whose birth was beneath Tmolas. And Nastes again led the Carians, uncouth of speech, who held Miletus and the mountain of Phthires, dense with its leafage, and the streams of Maeander, and the steep crests of Mycale.These were led by captains twain, Amphimachus and Nastes—Nastes and Amphimachus, the glorious children of Nomion. And he1 came to the war all decked with gold, like a girl, fool that he was; but his gold in no wise availed to ward off woeful destruction; nay, he was slain in the river beneath the hands of the son of Aeacus, swift of foot;and Achilles, wise of heart, bare off the gold. And Sarpedon and peerless Glaucus were captains of the Lycians from afar out of Lycia, from the eddying Xanthus.

book 3

Now when they were marshalled, the several companies with their captains, the Trojans came on with clamour and with a cry like birds, even as the clamour of cranes ariseth before the face of heaven, when they flee from wintry storms and measureless rain,and with clamour fly toward the streams of Ocean, bearing slaughter and death to Pigmy men, and in the early dawn they offer evil battle. But the Achaeans came on in silence, breathing fury, eager at heart to bear aid each man to his fellow. Even as when the South Wind sheddeth a mist over the peaks of a mountain, a mist that the shepherd loveth not, but that to the robber is better than night, and a man can see only so far as he casteth a stone; even in such wise rose the dense dust-cloud from beneath their feet as they went; and full swiftly did they speed across the plain. Now when they were come near, as they advanced one host against the other, among the Trojans there stood forth as champion godlike Alexander, bearing upon his shoulders a panther skin and his curved bow, and his sword; and brandishing two spears tipped with bronze he challenged all the best of Argivesto fight with him face to face in dread combat. But when Menelaus, dear to Ares, was ware of him as he came forth before the throng with long strides, then even as a lion is glad when he lighteth on a great carcase, having found a horned stag or a wild goatwhen he is hungry; for greedily doth he devour it, even though swift dogs and lusty youths set upon him: even so was Menelaus glad when his eyes beheld godlike Alexander; for he thought that he had gotten him vengeance1 on the sinner. And forthwith he leapt in his armour from his chariot to the ground. But when godlike Alexander was ware of him as he appeared among the champions, his heart was smitten, and back he shrank into the throng of his comrades, avoiding fate. And even as a man at sight of a snake in the glades of a mountain starteth back, and trembling seizeth his limbs beneath him,and he withdraweth back again and pallor layeth hold of his cheeks; even so did godlike Alexander, seized with fear of Atreus' son, shrink back into the throng of the lordly Trojans.
But Hector saw him, and chid him with words of shame: Evil Paris, most fair to look upon, thou that art mad after women, thou beguiler,would that thou hadst ne'er been born2 and hadst died unwed. Aye, of that were I fain, and it had been better far than that thou shouldest thus be a reproach, and that men should look upon thee in scorn. Verily, methinks, will the long-haired Achaeans laugh aloud, deeming that a prince is our champion because a comelyform is his, while there is no strength in his heart nor any valour. Was it in such strength as this that thou didst sail over the main in thy seafaring ships, when thou hadst gathered thy trusty comrades, and, coming to an alien folk, didst bring back a comely woman from a distant land, even a daughter of1 warriors who wield the spear,but to thy father and city and all the people a grievous bane—to thy foes a joy, but to thine own self a hanging down of the head? Wilt thou indeed not abide Menelaus, dear to Ares? Thou wouldest learn what manner of warrior he is whose lovely wife thou hast. Then will thy lyre help thee not, neither the gifts of Aphrodite,thy locks and thy comeliness, when thou shalt lie low in the dust. Nay, verily, the Trojans are utter cowards: else wouldest thou ere this have donned a coat of stone2 by reason of all the evil thou hast wrought. And to him did godlike Alexander make answer, saying: Hector, seeing that thou dost chide me duly, and not beyond what is due—ever is thy heart unyielding, even as an axe that is driven through a beam by the hand of man that skilfully shapeth a ship's timber, and it maketh the force of his blow to wax; even so is the heart in thy breast undaunted—cast not in my teeth the lovely gifts of golden Aphrodite.Not to be flung aside, look you, are the glorious gifts of the gods, even all that of themselves they give, whereas by his own will could no man win them. But now, if thou wilt have me war and do battle, make the other Trojans to sit down and all the Achaeans, but set ye me in the midst and Menelaus, dear to Ares,to do battle for Helen and all her possessions. And whichsoever of us twain shall win, and prove him the better man, let him duly take all the wealth and the woman, and bear them to his home. But for you others, do ye swear friendship and oaths of faith with sacrifice. So should ye dwell in deep-soiled Troyland, and let them returnto Argos, pasture-land of horses, and to Achaea, the land of fair women.
So spake he, and Hector rejoiced greatly when he heard his words; and he went into the midst, and kept back the battalions of the Trojans with his spear grasped by the middle; and they all sate them down.But the long-haired Achaeans sought the while to aim their arrows at him, and to smite him, and to cast at him with stones. But aloud shouted Agamemnon, king of men: Hold, ye Argives, shoot no more, ye youths of the Achaeans; for Hector of the flashing helm makes as though he would say somewhat. So spake he, and they stayed them from battle, and became silent forthwith.And Hector spake between the two hosts: Hear from me, ye Trojans and well-greaved Achaeans, the words of Alexander, for whose sake strife hath been set afoot. The other Trojans and all the Achaeans he biddeth to lay aside their goodly battle-gear upon the bounteous earth,and himself in the midst and Menelaus, dear to Ares, to do battle for Helen and all her possessions. And whichsoever of the twain shall win, and prove him the better man, let him duly take all the wealth and the woman, and bear them to his home; but for us others, let us swear friendship and oaths of faith with sacrifice. So spake he, and they all became hushed in silence; and among them spake Menelaus, good at the war-cry: Hearken ye now also unto me, for upon my heart above all others hath sorrow come; my mind is that Argives and Trojans now be parted, seeing ye have suffered many woesbecause of my quarrel and Alexander's beginning thereof.1 And for whichsoever of us twain death and fate are appointed, let him lie dead; but be ye others parted with all speed. Bring ye two lambs, a white ram and a black ewe, for Earth and Sun, and for Zeus we will bring another;and fetch ye hither the mighty Priam, that he may himself swear an oath with sacrifice, seeing that his sons are over-weening and faithless; lest any by presumptuous act should do violence to the oaths of Zeus. Ever unstable are the hearts of the young; but in whatsoever an old man taketh part, he looketh both before and after,that the issue may be far the best for either side.
So spake he, and the Achaeans and Trojans waxed glad, deeming that they had won rest from woeful war. So they stayed their chariots in the ranks, and themselves stepped forth, and did off their battle-gear. This they laid upon the ground,each hard by each, and there was but little space between. And Hector sent to the city heralds twain with all speed to fetch the lambs and to summon Priam. And Talthybius did lord Agamemnon send forth to the hollow ships, and bade him bring a lamb;and he failed not to hearken to goodly Agamemnon. But Iris went as a messenger to white-armed Helen, in the likeness of her husband's sister, the wife of Antenor's son, even her that lord Helicaon, Antenor's son, had to wife, Laodice, the comeliest of the daughters of Priam.She found Helen in the hall, where she was weaving a great purple web of double fold, and thereon was broidering many battles of the horse-taming Trojans and the brazen-coated Achaeans, that for her sake they had endured at the hands of Ares. Close to her side then came Iris, swift of foot, and spake to her, saying: Come hither, dear lady, that thou mayest behold the wondrous doings of the horse-taming Trojans and the brazen-coated Achaeans. They that of old were wont to wage tearful war against one another on the plain, their hearts set on deadly battle, even they abide now in silence, and the battle has ceased,and they lean upon their shields, and beside them their long spears are fixed. But Alexander and Menelaus, dear to Ares, will do battle with their long spears for thee; and whoso shall conquer, his dear wife shalt thou be called. So spake the goddess, and put into her heart sweet longingfor her former lord and her city and parents; and straightway she veiled herself with shining linen, and went forth from her chamber, letting fall round tears, not alone, for with her followed two handmaids as well, Aethra, daughter of Pittheus, and ox-eyed Clymene;and with speed they came to the place where were the Scaean gates.
And they that were about Priam and Panthous and Thymoetes and Lampus and Clytius and Hicetaon, scion of Ares, and Ucalegon and Antenor, men of prudence both, sat as elders of the people at the Scaean gates.Because of old age had they now ceased from battle, but speakers they were full good, like unto cicalas that in a forest sit upon a tree and pour forth their lily-like1 voice; even in such wise sat the leaders of the Trojans upon the wall. Now when they saw Helen coming upon the wall,softly they spake winged words one to another: Small blame that Trojans and well-greaved Achaeans should for such a woman long time suffer woes; wondrously like is she to the immortal goddesses to look upon. But even so, for all that she is such an one, let her depart upon the ships,neither be left here to be a bane to us and to our children after us. So they said, but Priam spake, and called Helen to him: Come hither, dear child, and sit before me, that thou mayest see thy former lord and thy kinsfolk and thy people—thou art nowise to blame in my eyes; it is the gods, methinks, that are to blame,who roused against me the tearful war of the Achaeans —and that thou mayest tell me who is this huge warrior, this man of Achaea so valiant and so tall. Verily there be others that are even taller by a head, but so comely a man have mine eyes never yet beheld,neither one so royal: he is like unto one that is a king. And Helen, fair among women, answered him, saying: Revered art thou in mine eyes, dear father of my husband, and dread. Would that evil death had been my pleasure when I followed thy son hither, and left my bridal chamber and my kinfolkand my daughter, well-beloved,2 and the lovely companions of my girlhood. But that was not to be; wherefore I pine away with weeping. Howbeit this will I tell thee, whereof thou dost ask and enquire. Yon man is the son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon, that is both a noble king and a valiant spearman.And he was husband's brother to shameless me, as sure as ever such a one there was. So spake she, and the old man was seized with wonder, and said: Ah, happy son of Atreus, child of fortune, blest of heaven; now see I that youths of the Achaeans full many are made subject unto thee. Ere now have I journeyed to the land of Phrygia, rich in vines,and there I saw in multitudes the Phrygian warriors, masters of glancing steeds, even the people of Otreus and godlike Mygdon, that were then encamped along the banks of Sangarius. For I, too, being their ally, was numbered among them on the day when the Amazons came, the peers of men.Howbeit not even they were as many as are the bright-eyed Achaeans.
And next the old man saw Odysseus, and asked: Come now, tell me also of yonder man, dear child, who he is. Shorter is he by a head than Agamemnon, son of Atreus, but broader of shoulder and of chest to look upon.His battle-gear lieth upon the bounteous earth, but himself he rangeth like the bell-wether of a herd through the ranks of warriors. Like a ram he seemeth to me, a ram of thick fleece, that paceth through a great flock of white ewes. To him made answer Helen, sprung from Zeus: This again is Laertes' son, Odysseus of many wiles, that was reared in the land of Ithaca, rugged though it be, and he knoweth all manner of craft and cunning devices. Then to her again made answer Antenor, the wise: Lady, this verily is a true word that thou hast spoken,for erstwhile on a time goodly Odysseus came hither also on an embassy concerning thee, together with Menelaus, dear to Ares; and it was I that gave them entertainment and welcomed them in my halls, and came to know the form and stature of them both and their cunning devices. Now when they mingled with the Trojans, as they were gathered together,when they stood Menelaus overtopped him with his broad shoulders; howbeit when the twain were seated Odysseus was the more royal. But when they began to weave the web of speech and of counsel in the presence of all, Menelaus in truth spake fluently, with few words, but very clearly, seeing he was not a man of lengthy speechnor of rambling, though verily in years he was the younger. But whenever Odysseus of many wiles arose, he would stand and look down with eyes fixed upon the ground, and his staff he would move neither backwards nor forwards, but would hold it stiff, in semblance like a man of no understanding;thou wouldest have deemed him a churlish man and naught but a fool. But whenso he uttered his great voice from his chest, and words like snowflakes on a winter's day, then could no mortal man beside vie with Odysseus; then did we not so marvel to behold Odysseus' aspect.
And, thirdly, the old man saw Aias, and asked: Who then is this other Achaean warrior, valiant and tall, towering above the Argives with his head and broad shoulders? And to him made answer long-robed Helen, fair among women: This is huge Aias, bulwark of the Achaeans.And Idomeneus over against him standeth amid the Cretans even as a god, and about him are gathered the captains of the Cretans. Full often was Menelaus, dear to Ares, wont to entertain him in our house, whenever he came from Crete. And now all the rest of the bright-eyed Achaeans do I see,whom I could well note, and tell their names; but two marshallers of the host can I not see, Castor, tamer of horses, and the goodly boxer, Polydeuces, even mine own brethren, whom the same mother bare. Either they followed not with the host from lovely Lacedaemon,or though they followed hither in their seafaring ships, they have now no heart to enter into the battle of warriors for fear of the words of shame and the many revilings that are mine. So said she; but they ere now were fast holden of the life-giving earth there in Lacedaemon, in their dear native land. Meanwhile the heralds were bearing through the city the offerings for the holy oaths of the gods, two lambs and, in a goat-skin bottle, wine that maketh glad the heart, the fruit of the earth. And the herald Idaeus bare a shining bowl and golden cups; and he came to the old king's side and roused him, saying: Rise, thou son of Laomedon, the chieftains of the horse-taming Trojans, and of the brazen-coated Achaeans, summon thee to go down into the plain, that ye may swear oaths of faith with sacrifice. But Alexander and Menelaus, dear to Ares, will do battle with long spears for the woman's sake;and whichsoever of the twain shall conquer, him let woman and treasure follow; and we others, swearing friendship and oaths of faith with sacrifice, should then dwell in deep-soiled Troy, but they will depart to Argos, pastureland of horses, and Achaea, the land of fair women. So spake he, and the old man shuddered, yet bade his companionsyoke the horses; and they speedily obeyed. Then Priam mounted and drew back the reins, and by his side Antenor mounted the beauteous car; and the twain drave the swift horses through the Scaean gates to the plain.
But when they were now come to the Trojans and Achaeans,they stepped forth from the chariot upon the bounteous earth, and went into the midst of the Trojans and Achaeans. Straightway then rose up Agamemnon, king of men, and Odysseus of many wiles, and the lordly heralds brought together the offerings for the holy oaths of the gods, and mixed the wine in the bowl,and poured water over the hands of the kings. And the son of Atreus drew forth with his hand the knife that ever hung beside the great sheath of his sword, and cut hair from off the heads of the lambs; and the heralds portioned it out to the chieftans of the Trojans and Achaeans.Then in their midst Agamemnon lifted up his hands and prayed aloud: Father Zeus, that rulest from Ida, most glorious, most great, and thou Sun, that beholdest all things and hearest all things, and ye rivers and thou earth, and ye that in the world below take vengeance on men that are done with life, whosoever hath sworn a false oath;be ye witnesses, and watch over the oaths of faith. If Alexander slay Menelaus, then let him keep Helen and all her treasure; and we will depart in our seafaring ships. But if so be fair-haired Menelaus shall slay Alexander,then let the Trojans give back Helen and all her treasure, and pay to the Argives in requital such recompense as beseemeth, even such as shall abide in the minds of men that are yet to be. Howbeit, if Priam and the sons of Priam be not minded to pay recompense unto me, when Alexander falleth,then will I fight on even thereafter, to get me recompense, and will abide here until I find an end of war. He spake, and cut the lambs' throats with the pitiless bronze; and laid them down upon the ground gasping and failing of breath, for the bronze had robbed them of their strength.Then they drew wine from the bowl into the cups, and poured it forth, and made prayer to the gods that are for ever. And thus would one of the Achaeans and Trojans say: Zeus, most glorious, most great, and ye other immortal gods, which host soever of the twain shall be first to work harm in defiance of the oaths,may their brains be thus poured forth upon the ground even as this wine, theirs and their children's; and may their wives be made slaves to others.
So spake they, but not yet was the son of Cronos to vouchsafe them fulfillment. Then in their midst spake Priam, Dardanus' son, saying: Hearken to me, ye Trojans and well-greaved Achaeans.I verily will go my way back to windy Ilios, since I can in no wise bear to behold with mine eyes my dear son doing battle with Menelaus, dear to Ares. But this, I ween, Zeus knoweth, and the other immortal gods, for which of the twain the doom of death is ordained. So spake the godlike man, and let place the lambs in his chariot, and himself mounted, and drew back the reins, and by his side Antenor mounted the beauteous car; and the twain departed back to Ilios. But Hector, Priam's son, and goodly Odysseusfirst measured out a space, and thereafter took the lots and shook them in the bronze-wrought helmet, to know which of the twain should first let fly his spear of bronze. And the people made prayer and lifted their hands to the gods; and thus would one of the Achaeans and Trojans speak: Father Zeus, that rulest from Ida, most glorious, most great, whichsoever of the twain it be that brought these troubles upon both peoples, grant that he may die and enter the house of Hades, whereas to us there may come friendship and oaths of faith. So spake they, and great Hector of the flashing helm shook the helmet,looking behind him the while; and straightway the lot of Paris leapt forth. Then the people sate them down in ranks, where were each man's high-stepping horses, and his inlaid armour was set. But goodly Alexander did on about his shoulders his beautiful armour, even he, the lord of fair-haired Helen.The greaves first he set about his legs; beautiful they were, and fitted with silver ankle-pieces; next he did on about his chest the corselet of his brother Lycaon, and fitted it to himself. And about his shoulders he cast his silver-studded swordof bronze, and thereafter his shield great and sturdy; and upon his mighty head he set a well-wrought helmet with horse-hair crest —and terribly did the plume nod from above— and he took a valorous spear, that fitted his grasp. And in the self-same manner warlike Menelaus did on his battle-gear.
But when they had armed themselves on either side of the throng, they strode into the space between the Trojans and Achaeans, glaring terribly; and amazement came upon them that beheld, both the Trojans, tamers of horses, and the well-greaved Achaeans; and the twain took their stand near together in the measured space,brandishing their spears in wrath one at the other. First Alexander hurled his far-shadowing spear, and smote upon the son of Atreus' shield that was well balanced on every side1 ; howbeit the bronze brake not through but its point was turned in the stout shield. Next Atreus' son, Menelaus, rushed upon him with his spear,and made prayer to father Zeus: Zeus, our king, grant that I may avenge me on him that was first to do me wrong, even on goodly Alexander, and subdue thou him beneath my hands; that many a one even of men yet to be may shudder to work evil to his host, that hath shown him friendship. He spoke, and poised his far-shadowing spear, and hurled it; and he smote upon the son of Priam's shield, that was well balanced upon every side. Through the bright shield went the mighty spear, and through the corselet, richly dight, did it force its way; and straight on beside his flank the spear shore through his tunic;but he bent aside and escaped black fate. Then the son of Atreus drew his silver-studded sword, and raising himself on high smote the horn of his helmet; but upon it his sword shattered in pieces three, aye, four, and fell from his hand. Then the son of Atreus uttered a bitter cry with a glance at the broad heaven: Father Zeus, than thou is no other god more baleful. Verily I deemed that I had got me vengeance upon Alexander for his wickedness, but now is my sword broken in my hands, and forth from my grasp has my spear flown in vain, and I smote him not. So saying, he sprang upon him, and seized him by the helmet with thick crest of horse-hair,and whirling him about began to drag him towards the well-greaved Achaeans; and Paris was choked by the richly-broidered strap beneath his soft throat, that was drawn tight beneath his chin to hold his helm. And now would Menelaus have dragged him away, and won glory unspeakable, had not Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, been quick to see,and to his cost broken in twain the thong, cut from the hide of a slaughtered ox; and the empty helm came away in his strong hand. This he then tossed with a swing into the company of the well-greaved Achaeans, and his trusty comrades gathered it up; but himself he sprang back again, eager to slay his foewith spear of bronze.
But him Aphrodite snatched up, full easily as a goddess may, and shrouded him in thick mist, and set him down in his fragrant, vaulted1 chamber, and herself went to summon Helen. Her she found on the high wall, and round about her in throngs were the women of Troy.Then with her hand the goddess laid hold of her fragrant robe, and plucked it, and spake to her in the likeness of an ancient dame, a wool-comber, who had been wont to card the fair wool for her when she dwelt in Lacedaemon, and who was well loved of her; in her likeness fair Aphrodite spake: Come hither; Alexander calleth thee to go to thy home. There is he in his chamber and on his inlaid couch, gleaming with beauty and fair raiment. Thou wouldest not deem that he had come thither from warring with a foe, but rather that he was going to the dance, or sat there as one that had but newly ceased from the dance. So spake she, and stirred Helen's heart in her breast; and when she marked the beauteous neck of the goddess, her lovely bosom, and her flashing eyes, then amazement seized her, and she spake, and addressed her, saying: Strange goddess, why art thou minded to beguile me thus?Verily thou wilt lead me yet further on to one of the well-peopled cities of Phrygia or lovely Maeonia, if there too there be some one of mortal men who is dear to thee, seeing that now Menelaus hath conquered goodly Alexander, and is minded to lead hateful me to his home.It is for this cause that thou art now come hither with guileful thought. Go thou, and sit by his side, and depart from the way of the gods, neither let thy feet any more bear thee back to Olympus; but ever be thou troubled for him, and guard him, until he make thee his wife, or haply his slave.But thither will I not go—it were a shameful thing—to array that man's couch; all the women of Troy will blame me hereafter; and I have measureless griefs at heart. Then stirred to wrath fair Aphrodite spake to her: Provoke me not, rash woman, lest I wax wroth and desert thee,and hate thee, even as now I love thee wondrously; and lest I devise grievous hatred between both, Trojans alike and Danaans; then wouldst thou perish of an evil fate. So spake she, and Helen, sprung from Zeus, was seized with fear; and she1 went, wrapping herself in her bright shining mantle,in silence; and she was unseen of the Trojan women; and the goddess led the way.
Now when they were come to the beautiful palace of Alexander, the handmaids turned forthwith to their tasks, but she, the fair lady, went to the high-roofed chamber. And the goddess, laughter-loving Aphrodite, took for her a chair,and set it before the face of Alexander. Thereon Helen sate her down, the daughter of Zeus that beareth the aegis, with eyes turned askance; and she chid her lord, and said: Thou hast come back from the war; would thou hadst perished there, vanquished by a valiant man that was my former lord.Verily it was thy boast aforetime that thou wast a better man than Menelaus, dear to Ares, in the might of thy hands and with thy spear. But go now, challenge Menelaus, dear to Ares, again to do battle with thee, man to man. But, nay, I of myself bid thee refrain, and not war amain against fair-haired Menelaus,nor fight with him in thy folly, lest haply thou be vanquished anon by his spear. Then Paris made answer, and spake to her, saying: Chide not my heart, lady, with hard words of reviling. For this present hath Menelaus vanquished me with Athene's aid,but another time shall I vanquish him; on our side too there be gods. But come, let us take our joy, couched together in love; for never yet hath desire so encompassed my soul—nay, not when at the first I snatched thee from lovely Lacedaemon and sailed with thee on my seafaring ships,and on the isle of Cranae had dalliance with thee on the couch of love—as now I love thee, and sweet desire layeth hold of me. He spake, and led the way to the couch, and with him followed his wife. Thus the twain were couched upon the corded bed; but the son of Atreus ranged through the throng like a wild beast,if anywhere he might have sight of godlike Alexander. But none of the Trojans or their famed allies could then discover Alexander to Menelaus, dear to Ares. Not for love verily were they fain to hide him, could any have seen him, for he was hated of all even as black death.Then the king of men, Agamemnon, spake among them, saying: Hearken to me, ye Trojans and Dardanians and allies. Victory is now of a surety seen to rest with Menelaus, dear to Ares; do ye therefore give up Argive Helen and the treasure with her, and pay ye in requital such recompense as beseemeth,even such as shall abide in the minds of men that are yet to be. So spake the son of Atreus, and all the Achaeans shouted assent.

book 4

Now the gods, seated by the side of Zeus, were holding assembly on the golden floor, and in their midst the queenly Hebe poured them nectar, and they with golden goblets pledged one the other as they looked forth upon the city of the Trojans.And forthwith the son of Cronos made essay to provoke Hera with mocking words, and said with malice: Twain of the goddesses hath Menelaus for helpers, even Argive Hera, and Alalcomenean153.1 Athene. Howbeit these verily sit apart and take their pleasure in beholding,whereas by the side of that other laughter-loving Aphrodite ever standeth, and wardeth from him fate, and but now she saved him, when he thought to perish. But of a surety victory rests with Menelaus, dear to Ares; let us therefore take thought how these things are to be;whether we shall again rouse evil war and the dread din of battle, or put friendship between the hosts. If this might in any wise be welcome to all and their good pleasure, then might the city of king Priam still be an habitation, and Menelaus take back Argive Helen. So spake he, and thereat Athene and Hera murmured, who sat side by side, and were devising ills for the Trojans. Athene verily held her peace and said naught, wroth though she was at father Zeus, and fierce anger gat hold of her; howbeit Hera's breast contained not her anger, but she spake to him, saying: Most dread son of Cronos, what a word hast thou said! How art thou minded to render my labour vain and of none effect, and the sweat that I sweated in my toil,—aye, and my horses twain waxed weary with my summoning the host for the bane of Priam and his sons? Do thou as thou wilt; but be sure we other gods assent not all thereto. Then, stirred to hot anger, spake to her Zeus, the cloud-gatherer: Strange queen, wherein do Priam and the sons of Priam work thee ills so many, that thou ragest unceasingly to lay waste the well-built citadel of Ilios? If thou wert to enter within the gates and the high walls,and to devour Priam raw and the sons of Priam and all the Trojans besides, then perchance mightest thou heal thine anger. Do as thy pleasure is; let not this quarrel in time to come be to thee and me a grievous cause of strife between us twain. And another thing will I tell thee, and do thou lay it to heart.When it shall be that I, vehemently eager to lay waste a city, choose one wherein dwell men that are dear to thee, seek thou in no wise to hinder my anger, but suffer me; since I too have yielded to thee of mine own will, yet with soul unwilling. For of all cities beneath sun and starry heavenwherein men that dwell upon the face of the earth have their abodes, of these sacred Ilios was most honoured of my heart, and Priam and the people of Priam, with goodly spear of ash. For never at any time was mine altar in lack of the equal feast, the drink-offering, and the savour of burnt-offering, even the worship that is our due.
Then in answer to him spake ox-eyed, queenly Hera: Verily have I three cities that are far dearest in my sight, Argos and Sparta and broad-wayed Mycenae; these do thou lay waste whensoe'er they shall be hateful to thy heart. Not in their defence do I stand forth, nor account them too greatly.For even though I grudge thee, and am fain to thwart their overthrow, I avail naught by my grudging, for truly thou art far the mightier. Still it beseemeth that my labour too be not made of none effect; for I also am a god, and my birth is from the stock whence is thine own, and crooked-counselling Cronos begat me as the most honoured of his daughtersin twofold wise, for that I am eldest, and am called thy wife, whilst thou art king among all the immortals. Nay then, let us yield one to the other herein, I to thee and thou to me, and all the other immortal gods will follow with us; and do thou straightway bid Athenego her way into the dread din of battle of Trojans and Achaeans, and contrive how that the Trojans may be first in defiance of their oaths to work evil upon the Achaeans that exult in their triumph. So said she, and the father of men and gods failed not to hearken; forthwith he spake to Athene winged words: Haste thee with all speed unto the host into the midst of Trojans and Achaeans, and contrive how that the Trojans may be first in defiance of their oaths to work evil upon the Achaeans that exult in their triumph. So saying, he stirred on Athene that was already eager, and down from the peaks of Olympus she went darting.Even in such wise as the son of crooked-counselling Cronos sendeth a star to be a portent for seamen or for a wide host of warriors, a gleaming star, and therefrom the sparks fly thick; even so darted Pallas Athene to earth, and down she leapt into the midst; and amazement came upon all that beheld,on horse-taming Trojans and well-greaved Achaeans; and thus would a man say with a glance at his neighbour: Verily shall we again have evil war and the dread din of battle, or else friendship is set amid the hosts by Zeus, who is for men the dispenser of battle.
So would many a one of Achaeans and Trojans speak. But Athene entered the throng of the Trojans in the guise of a man, even of Laodocus, son of Antenor, a valiant spearman, in quest of god-like Pandarus, if haply she might find him. And she found Lycaon's son, peerless and stalwart,as he stood, and about him were the stalwart ranks of the shield-bearing hosts that followed him from the streams of Aesepus. Then she drew near, and spake to him winged words: Wilt thou now hearken to me, thou wise-hearted son of Lycaon? Then wouldst thou dare to let fly a swift arrow upon Menelaus,and wouldst win favour and renown in the eyes of all the Trojans, and of king Alexander most of all. From him of a surety wouldst thou before all others bear off glorious gifts, should he see Menelaus, the warlike son of Atreus, laid low by thy shaft, and set upon the grievous pyre.Nay, come, shoot thine arrow at glorious Menelaus, and vow to Apollo, the wolf-born161.1 god, famed for his bow, that thou wilt sacrifice a glorious hecatomb of firstling lambs, when thou shalt come to thy home, the city of sacred Zeleia. So spake Athene, and persuaded his heart in his folly.Straightway he uncovered his polished bow of the horn of a wild ibex, that himself on a time had smitten beneath the breast as it came forth from a rock, he lying in wait the while in a place of ambush, and had struck it in the chest, so that it fell backward in a cleft of the rock. From its head the horns grew to a length of sixteen palms;these the worker in horn had wrought and fitted together, and smoothed all with care, and set thereon a tip of gold. This bow he bent, leaning it against the ground, and laid it carefully down; and his goodly comrades held their shields before him, lest the warrior sons of the Achaeans should leap to their feetor ever Menelaus, the warlike son of Atreus, was smitten. Then opened he the lid of his quiver, and took forth an arrow, a feathered arrow that had never been shot, freighted161.2 with dark pains; and forthwith he fitted the bitter arrow to the string, and made a vow to Apollo, the wolf-born god, famed for his bow,that he would sacrifice a glorious hecatomb of firstling lambs, when he should come to his home, the city of sacred Zeleia. And he drew the bow, clutching at once the notched arrow and the string of ox's sinew: the string he brought to his breast and to the bow the iron arrow-head. But when he had drawn the great bow into a round,the bow twanged and the string sang aloud, and the keen arrow leapt, eager to wing its way amid the throng.
Then, O Menelaus, the blessed gods, the immortals, forgat thee not; and before all the daughter of Zeus, she that driveth the spoil, who took her stand before thee, and warded off the stinging arrow.She swept it just aside from the flesh, even as a mother sweepeth a fly from her child when he lieth in sweet slumber; and of herself she guided it where the golden clasps of the belt were fastened and the corselet overlapped. On the clasped belt lighted the bitter arrow,and through the belt richly dight was it driven, and clean through the curiously wrought corselet did it force its way, and through the taslet163.1 which he wore, a screen for his flesh and a barrier against darts, wherein was his chiefest defence; yet even through this did it speed. So the arrow grazed the outermost flesh of the warrior,and forthwith the dark blood flowed from the wound. As when a woman staineth ivory with scarlet, some woman of Maeonia or Caria, to make a cheek-piece for horses, and it lieth in a treasure-chamber, though many horsemen pray to wear it; but it lieth there as a king's treasure,alike an ornament for his horse and to its driver a glory; even in such wise, Menelaus, were thy thighs stained with blood, thy shapely thighs and thy legs and thy fair ankles beneath. Thereat shuddered the king of men, Agamemnon, as he saw the black blood flowing from the wound,and Menelaus, dear to Ares, himself likewise shuddered. But when he saw that the sinew1 and the barbs were without the flesh, back again into his breast was his spirit gathered. But with a heavy moan spake among them lord Agamemnon, holding Menelaus by the hand; and his comrades too made moan: Dear brother, it was for thy death, meseems, that I swore this oath with sacrifice, setting thee forth alone before the face of the Achaeans to do battle with the Trojans, seeing the Trojans have thus smitten thee, and trodden under foot the oaths of faith. Yet in no wise is an oath of none effect and the blood of lambs and drink-offerings of unmixed wine and the hand-clasps, wherein we put our trust.For even if for the moment the Olympian vouchsafeth not fulfillment, yet late and at length doth he fulfill them, and with a heavy price do men make atonement, even with their own heads and their wives and their children. For of a surety know I this in heart and soul: the day shall come when sacred Ilios shall be laid low,and Priam, and the people of Priam, with goodly spear of ash; and Zeus, son of Cronos, throned on high, that dwelleth in the heaven, shall himself shake over them all his dark aegis in wrath for this deceit. These things verily shall not fail of fulfillment; yet dread grief for thee shall be mine, O Menelaus,if thou shalt die and fill up thy lot of life. Aye, and as one most despised should I return to thirsty Argos, for straightway will the Achaeans bethink them of their native land, and so should we leave to Priam and the Trojans their boast, even Argive Helen. And thy bones shall the earth rotas thou liest in the land of Troy with thy task unfinished; and thus shall many a one of the overweening Trojans say, as he leapeth upon the barrow of glorious Menelaus: Would that in every matter it may he thus that Agamemnon may fulfill his wrath, even as now he led hither a host of the Achaeans to no purpose, and lo!he hath departed home to his dear native land with empty ships, and hath left here noble Menelaus. So shall some man speak in aftertime; in that day let the wide earth gape for me.
But fair-haired Menelaus spake and heartened him, saying: Be thou of good cheer, neither affright in any wise the host of the Achaeans.Not in a fatal spot hath the shaft been fixed; ere that my flashing belt stayed it, and the kilt beneath, and the taslet that the coppersmiths fashioned. Then in answer to him spake lord Agamemnon: Would it may be so, dear Menelaus.But the leech shall search the wound and lay thereon simples that shall make thee cease from dark pains. Therewith he spake to Talthybius, the godlike herald: Talthybius, make haste to call hither Machaon, son of Asclepius, the peerless leech,to see warlike Menelaus, son of Atreus, whom some man well skilled in archery hath smitten with an arrow, some Trojan or Lycian, compassing glory for himself but for us sorrow. So spake he, and the herald failed not to hearken, as he heard, but went his way throughout the host of the brazen-coated Achaeans,glancing this way and that for the warrior Machaon; and he marked him as he stood, and round about him were the stalwart ranks of the shield-bearing hosts that followed him from Trica, the pastureland of horses. And he came up to him, and spake winged words, saying: Rouse thee, son of Asclepius; lord Agamemnon calleth theeto see warlike Menelaus, captain of the Achaeans, whom some man, well skilled in archery, hath smitten with an arrow, some Trojan or Lycian, compassing glory for himself but for us sorrow. So spake he, and roused the heart in his breast, and they went their way in the throng throughout the broad host of the Achaeans. And when they were come where was fair-haired Menelaus,wounded, and around him were gathered in a circle all they that were chieftains, the godlike hero came and stood in their midst, and straightway drew forth the arrow from the clasped belt; and as it was drawn forth the sharp barbs were broken backwards.And he loosed the flashing belt and the kilt beneath and the taslet that the coppersmiths fashioned. But when he saw the wound where the bitter arrow had lighted, he sucked out the blood, and with sure knowledge spread thereon soothing simples, which of old Cheiron had given to his father with kindly thought. While they were thus busied with Menelaus, good at the war-cry, meanwhile the ranks of the shield-bearing Trojans came on; and the Achaeans again did on their battle-gear, and bethought them of war.
Then wouldst thou not have seen goodly Agamemnon slumbering, nor cowering, nor with no heart for fight,but full eager for battle where men win glory. His horses and his chariot adorned with bronze he let be, and his squire, Eurymedon, son of Peiraeus' son Ptolemaeus, kept the snorting steeds withdrawn apart; and straitly did Agamemnon charge him to have them at hand, wheneverweariness should come upon his limbs, as he gave commands throughout all the host; but he himself ranged on foot through the ranks of warriors. And whomsoever of the Danaans with swift steeds he saw eager, to these would he draw nigh, and hearten them earnestly, saying: Ye Argives, relax ye no whit of your furious valour;for father Zeus will be no helper of lies; nay, they that were the first to work violence in defiance of their oaths, their tender flesh of a surety shall vultures devour, and we shall bear away in our ships their dear wives and little children, when we shall have taken their citadel. And whomsoever again he saw holding back from hateful war, them would he chide roundly with angry words: Ye Argives that rage with the bow, ye men of dishonour,171.1 have ye no shame? Why is it that ye stand thus dazed, like fawns that, when they have grown weary with running over a wide plain,stand still, and in their hearts is no valour found at all? Even so ye stand dazed and fight not. Is it that ye wait for the Trojans to come near where your ships with stately sterns are drawn up on the shore of the grey sea, that ye may know if haply the son of Cronos will stretch forth his arm over you? Thus ranged he giving his commands through the ranks of warriors; and he came to the Cretans as he fared through the throng of men. These were arming them for war around wise-hearted Idomeneus; and Idomeneus stood amid the foremost fighters like a wild boar in valour, while Meriones was speeding on the hindmost battalions.At sight of them Agamemnon, king of men, waxed glad, and forthwith he spake to Idomeneus with gentle words: Idomeneus, beyond all the Danaans with swift steeds do I show honour to thee both in war and in tasks of other sort, and at the feast, when the chieftains of the Argives let mingle in the bowl the flaming wine of the elders.For even though the other long-haired Achaeans drink an allotted portion, thy cup standeth ever full, even as for mine own self, to drink whensoever thy heart biddeth thee. Come, rouse thee for battle, such a one as of old thou declaredst thyself to be.
To him then Idomeneus, leader of the Cretans, made answer, saying: Son of Atreus, of a surety will I be to thee a trusty comrade, even as at the first I promised and gave my pledge; but do thou urge on the other long-haired Achaeans that we may fight with speed, seeing the Trojans have made of none effect our oaths.Death and woes shall hereafter be their lot, for that they were the first to work violence in defiance of the oaths. So spake he, and the son of Atreus passed on, glad at heart, and came to the Aiantes as he fared through the throng of warriors;these were arming them for battle, and a cloud of footmen followed with them. Even as when from some place of outlook a goatherd seeth a cloud coming over the face of the deep before the blast of the West Wind, and to him being afar off it seemeth blacker than pitch as it passeth over the face of the deep, and it bringeth a mighty whirlwind; and he shuddereth at sight of it, and driveth his flock beneath a cave;even in such wise by the side of the Aiantes did the thick battalions of youths, nurtured of Zeus, move into furious war—dark battalions, bristling with shields and spears. At sight of these lord Agamemnon waxed glad, and he spake and addressed them with winged words: Ye Aiantes, leaders of the brazen-coated Argives, to you twain, for it beseemeth not to urge you, I give no charge; for of yourselves ye verily bid your people fight amain. I would, O father Zeus and Athene and Apollo, that such spirit as yours might be found in the breasts of all;then would the city of king Priam forthwith bow her head, taken and laid waste beneath our hands. So saying, he left them there and went to others. Then found he Nestor, the clear-voiced orator of the Pylians, arraying his comrades and urging them to fight,around mighty Pelagon and Alastor and Chromius and lord Haemon and Bias, shepherd of the host. The charioteers first he arrayed with their horses and cars, and behind them the footmen, many and valiant, to be a bulwark of battle; but the cowards he drave into the midst,that were he never so loath each man must needs fight perforce. Upon the charioteers was he first laying charge, and he bade them keep their horses in hand, nor drive tumultuously on amid the throng. Neither let any man, trusting in his horsemanship and his valour, be eager to fight with the Trojans alone in front of the rest,nor yet let him draw back; for so will ye be the feebler. But what man soe'er from his own car can come at a car of the foe, let him thrust forth with his spear, since verily it is far better so. Thus also did men of olden time lay waste cities and walls, having in their breasts mind and spirit such as this.
So was the old man urging them on, having knowledge of battles from of old. At sight of him lord Agamemnon waxed glad, and he spake, and addressed him with winged words: Old Sir, I would that even as is the spirit in thy breast, so thy limbs might obey, and thy strength be firm.But evil177.1 old age presseth hard upon thee; would that some other among the warriors had thy years, and that thou wert among the youths. To him then made answer the horseman, Nestor of Gerenia: Son of Atreus, verily I myself could wish that I were such a one as on the day when I slew goodly Ereuthalion.But in no wise do the gods grant to men all things at one time. As I was then a youth, so now doth old age attend me. Yet even so will I abide among the charioteers and urge them on by counsel and by words; for that is the office of elders. Spears shall the young men wieldwho are more youthful than I and have confidence in their strength. So spake he, and the son of Atreus passed on glad at heart. He found Menestheus, driver of horses, son of Peteos, as he stood, and about him were the Athenians, masters of the war-cry. And hard by stood Odysseus of many wiles,and with him the ranks of the Cephallenians, no weakling folk, stood still; for their host had not as yet heard the war-cry, seeing the battalions of the horse-taming Trojans and the Achaeans had but newly bestirred them to move; wherefore these stood, and waited until some other serried battalions of the Achaeans should advanceto set upon the Trojans, and begin the battle. At sight of these Agamemnon, king of men, chid them, and spoke, and addressed them with winged words: O son of Peteos, the king nurtured of Zeus, and thou that excellest in evil wiles, thou of crafty mind,why stand ye apart cowering, and wait for others? For you twain were it seemly that ye take your stand amid the foremost, and confront blazing battle; for ye are the first to hear my bidding to the feast, whenso we Achaeans make ready a banquet for the elders.Then are ye glad to eat roast meat and drink cups of honey-sweet wine as long as ye will. But now would ye gladly behold it, aye if ten serried battalions of the Achaeans were to fight in front of you with the pitiless bronze.