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Book XVIII

BOOK XVIII

THUS then did they fight as it were a flaming fire. Meanwhile the

fleet runner Antilochus, who had been sent as messenger, reached

Achilles, and found him sitting by his tall ships and boding that

which was indeed too surely true. "Alas," said he to himself in

the heaviness of his heart, "why are the Achaeans again scouring

the plain and flocking towards the ships? Heaven grant the gods

be not now bringing that sorrow upon me of which my mother Thetis

spoke, saying that while I was yet alive the bravest of the

Myrmidons should fall before the Trojans, and see the light of

the sun no longer. I fear the brave son of Menoetius has fallen

through his own daring and yet I bade him return to the ships as

soon as he had driven back those that were bringing fire against

them, and not join battle with Hector."

As he was thus pondering, the son of Nestor came up to him and

told his sad tale, weeping bitterly the while. "Alas," he cried,

"son of noble Peleus, I bring you bad tidings, would indeed that

they were untrue. Patroclus has fallen, and a fight is raging

about his naked body--for Hector holds his armour."

A dark cloud of grief fell upon Achilles as he listened. He

filled both hands with dust from off the ground, and poured it

over his head, disfiguring his comely face, and letting the

refuse settle over his shirt so fair and new. He flung himself

down all huge and hugely at full length, and tore his hair with

his hands. The bondswomen whom Achilles and Patroclus had taken

captive screamed aloud for grief, beating their breasts, and with

their limbs failing them for sorrow. Antilochus bent over him the

while, weeping and holding both his hands as he lay groaning for

he feared that he might plunge a knife into his own throat. Then

Achilles gave a loud cry and his mother heard him as she was

sitting in the depths of the sea by the old man her father,

whereon she screamed, and all the goddesses daughters of Nereus

that dwelt at the bottom of the sea, came gathering round her.

There were Glauce, Thalia and Cymodoce, Nesaia, Speo, Thoe and

dark-eyed Halie, Cymothoe, Actaea and Limnorea, Melite, Iaera,

Amphithoe and Agave, Doto and Proto, Pherusa and Dynamene,

Dexamene, Amphinome and Callianeira, Doris, Panope, and the

famous sea-nymph Galatea, Nemertes, Apseudes and Callianassa.

There were also Clymene, Ianeira and Ianassa, Maera, Oreithuia

and Amatheia of the lovely locks, with other Nereids who dwell in

the depths of the sea. The crystal cave was filled with their

multitude and they all beat their breasts while Thetis led them

in their lament.

"Listen," she cried, "sisters, daughters of Nereus, that you may

hear the burden of my sorrows. Alas, woe is me, woe in that I

have borne the most glorious of offspring. I bore him fair and

strong, hero among heroes, and he shot up as a sapling; I tended

him as a plant in a goodly garden, and sent him with his ships to

Ilius to fight the Trojans, but never shall I welcome him back to

the house of Peleus. So long as he lives to look upon the light

of the sun he is in heaviness, and though I go to him I cannot

help him. Nevertheless I will go, that I may see my dear son and

learn what sorrow has befallen him though he is still holding

aloof from battle."

She left the cave as she spoke, while the others followed weeping

after, and the waves opened a path before them. When they reached

the rich plain of Troy, they came up out of the sea in a long

line on to the sands, at the place where the ships of the

Myrmidons were drawn up in close order round the tents of

Achilles. His mother went up to him as he lay groaning; she laid

her hand upon his head and spoke piteously, saying, "My son, why

are you thus weeping? What sorrow has now befallen you? Tell me;

hide it not from me. Surely Jove has granted you the prayer you

made him, when you lifted up your hands and besought him that the

Achaeans might all of them be pent up at their ships, and rue it

bitterly in that you were no longer with them."

Achilles groaned and answered, "Mother, Olympian Jove has indeed

vouchsafed me the fulfilment of my prayer, but what boots it to

me, seeing that my dear comrade Patroclus has fallen--he whom I

valued more than all others, and loved as dearly as my own life?

I have lost him; aye, and Hector when he had killed him stripped

the wondrous armour, so glorious to behold, which the gods gave

to Peleus when they laid you in the couch of a mortal man. Would

that you were still dwelling among the immortal sea-nymphs, and

that Peleus had taken to himself some mortal bride. For now you

shall have grief infinite by reason of the death of that son whom

you can never welcome home--nay, I will not live nor go about

among mankind unless Hector fall by my spear, and thus pay me for

having slain Patroclus son of Menoetius."

Thetis wept and answered, "Then, my son, is your end near at

hand--for your own death awaits you full soon after that of

Hector."

Then said Achilles in his great grief, "I would die here and now,

in that I could not save my comrade. He has fallen far from home,

and in his hour of need my hand was not there to help him. What

is there for me? Return to my own land I shall not, and I have

brought no saving neither to Patroclus nor to my other comrades

of whom so many have been slain by mighty Hector; I stay here by

my ships a bootless burden upon the earth, I, who in fight have

no peer among the Achaeans, though in council there are better

than I. Therefore, perish strife both from among gods and men,

and anger, wherein even a righteous man will harden his

heart--which rises up in the soul of a man like smoke, and the

taste thereof is sweeter than drops of honey. Even so has

Agamemnon angered me. And yet--so be it, for it is over; I will

force my soul into subjection as I needs must; I will go; I will

pursue Hector who has slain him whom I loved so dearly, and will

then abide my doom when it may please Jove and the other gods to

send it. Even Hercules, the best beloved of Jove--even he could

not escape the hand of death, but fate and Juno's fierce anger

laid him low, as I too shall lie when I am dead if a like doom

awaits me. Till then I will win fame, and will bid Trojan and

Dardanian women wring tears from their tender cheeks with both

their hands in the grievousness of their great sorrow; thus shall

they know that he who has held aloof so long will hold aloof no

longer. Hold me not back, therefore, in the love you bear me, for

you shall not move me."

Then silver-footed Thetis answered, "My son, what you have said

is true. It is well to save your comrades from destruction, but

your armour is in the hands of the Trojans; Hector bears it in

triumph upon his own shoulders. Full well I know that his vaunt

shall not be lasting, for his end is close at hand; go not,

however, into the press of battle till you see me return hither;

to-morrow at break of day I shall be here, and will bring you

goodly armour from King Vulcan."

On this she left her brave son, and as she turned away she said

to the sea-nymphs her sisters, "Dive into the bosom of the sea

and go to the house of the old sea-god my father. Tell him

everything; as for me, I will go to the cunning workman Vulcan on

high Olympus, and ask him to provide my son with a suit of

splendid armour."

When she had so said, they dived forthwith beneath the waves,

while silver-footed Thetis went her way that she might bring the

armour for her son.

Thus, then, did her feet bear the goddess to Olympus, and

meanwhile the Achaeans were flying with loud cries before

murderous Hector till they reached the ships and the Hellespont,

and they could not draw the body of Mars's servant Patroclus out

of reach of the weapons that were showered upon him, for Hector

son of Priam with his host and horsemen had again caught up to

him like the flame of a fiery furnace; thrice did brave Hector

seize him by the feet, striving with might and main to draw him

away and calling loudly on the Trojans, and thrice did the two

Ajaxes, clothed in valour as with a garment, beat him from off

the body; but all undaunted he would now charge into the thick of

the fight, and now again he would stand still and cry aloud, but

he would give no ground. As upland shepherds that cannot chase

some famished lion from a carcase, even so could not the two

Ajaxes scare Hector son of Priam from the body of Patroclus.

And now he would even have dragged it off and have won

imperishable glory, had not Iris fleet as the wind, winged her

way as messenger from Olympus to the son of Peleus and bidden him

arm. She came secretly without the knowledge of Jove and of the

other gods, for Juno sent her, and when she had got close to him

she said, "Up, son of Peleus, mightiest of all mankind; rescue

Patroclus about whom this fearful fight is now raging by the

ships. Men are killing one another, the Danaans in defence of the

dead body, while the Trojans are trying to hale it away, and take

it to windy Ilius: Hector is the most furious of them all; he is

for cutting the head from the body and fixing it on the stakes of

the wall. Up, then, and bide here no longer; shrink from the

thought that Patroclus may become meat for the dogs of Troy.

Shame on you, should his body suffer any kind of outrage."

And Achilles said, "Iris, which of the gods was it that sent you

to me?"

Iris answered, "It was Juno the royal spouse of Jove, but the son

of Saturn does not know of my coming, nor yet does any other of

the immortals who dwell on the snowy summits of Olympus."

Then fleet Achilles answered her saying, "How can I go up into

the battle? They have my armour. My mother forbade me to arm till

I should see her come, for she promised to bring me goodly armour

from Vulcan; I know no man whose arms I can put on, save only the

shield of Ajax son of Telamon, and he surely must be fighting in

the front rank and wielding his spear about the body of dead

Patroclus."

Iris said, "We know that your armour has been taken, but go as

you are; go to the deep trench and show yourself before the

Trojans, that they may fear you and cease fighting. Thus will the

fainting sons of the Achaeans gain some brief breathing-time,

which in battle may hardly be."

Iris left him when she had so spoken. But Achilles dear to Jove

arose, and Minerva flung her tasselled aegis round his strong

shoulders; she crowned his head with a halo of golden cloud from

which she kindled a glow of gleaming fire. As the smoke that goes

up into heaven from some city that is being beleaguered on an

island far out at sea--all day long do men sally from the city

and fight their hardest, and at the going down of the sun the

line of beacon-fires blazes forth, flaring high for those that

dwell near them to behold, if so be that they may come with their

ships and succour them--even so did the light flare from the head

of Achilles, as he stood by the trench, going beyond the wall--

but he aid not join the Achaeans for he heeded the charge which

his mother laid upon him.

There did he stand and shout aloud. Minerva also raised her voice

from afar, and spread terror unspeakable among the Trojans.

Ringing as the note of a trumpet that sounds alarm then the foe

is at the gates of a city, even so brazen was the voice of the

son of Aeacus, and when the Trojans heard its clarion tones they

were dismayed; the horses turned back with their chariots for

they boded mischief, and their drivers were awe-struck by the

steady flame which the grey-eyed goddess had kindled above the

head of the great son of Peleus.

Thrice did Achilles raise his loud cry as he stood by the trench,

and thrice were the Trojans and their brave allies thrown into

confusion; whereon twelve of their noblest champions fell beneath

the wheels of their chariots and perished by their own spears.

The Achaeans to their great joy then drew Patroclus out of reach

of the weapons, and laid him on a litter: his comrades stood

mourning round him, and among them fleet Achilles who wept

bitterly as he saw his true comrade lying dead upon his bier. He

had sent him out with horses and chariots into battle, but his

return he was not to welcome.

Then Juno sent the busy sun, loth though he was, into the waters

of Oceanus; so he set, and the Achaeans had rest from the tug and

turmoil of war.

Now the Trojans when they had come out of the fight, unyoked

their horses and gathered in assembly before preparing their

supper. They kept their feet, nor would any dare to sit down, for

fear had fallen upon them all because Achilles had shown himself

after having held aloof so long from battle. Polydamas son of

Panthous was first to speak, a man of judgement, who alone among

them could look both before and after. He was comrade to Hector,

and they had been born upon the same night; with all sincerity

and goodwill, therefore, he addressed them thus:--

"Look to it well, my friends; I would urge you to go back now to

your city and not wait here by the ships till morning, for we are

far from our walls. So long as this man was at enmity with

Agamemnon the Achaeans were easier to deal with, and I would have

gladly camped by the ships in the hope of taking them; but now I

go in great fear of the fleet son of Peleus; he is so daring that

he will never bide here on the plain whereon the Trojans and

Achaeans fight with equal valour, but he will try to storm our

city and carry off our women. Do then as I say, and let us

retreat. For this is what will happen. The darkness of night will

for a time stay the son of Peleus, but if he find us here in the

morning when he sallies forth in full armour, we shall have

knowledge of him in good earnest. Glad indeed will he be who can

escape and get back to Ilius, and many a Trojan will become meat

for dogs and vultures may I never live to hear it. If we do as I

say, little though we may like it, we shall have strength in

counsel during the night, and the great gates with the doors that

close them will protect the city. At dawn we can arm and take our

stand on the walls; he will then rue it if he sallies from the

ships to fight us. He will go back when he has given his horses

their fill of being driven all whithers under our walls, and will

be in no mind to try and force his way into the city. Neither

will he ever sack it, dogs shall devour him ere he do so."

Hector looked fiercely at him and answered, "Polydamas, your

words are not to my liking in that you bid us go back and be pent

within the city. Have you not had enough of being cooped up

behind walls? In the old-days the city of Priam was famous the

whole world over for its wealth of gold and bronze, but our

treasures are wasted out of our houses, and much goods have been

sold away to Phrygia and fair Meonia, for the hand of Jove has

been laid heavily upon us. Now, therefore, that the son of

scheming Saturn has vouchsafed me to win glory here and to hem

the Achaeans in at their ships, prate no more in this fool's wise

among the people. You will have no man with you; it shall not be;

do all of you as I now say;--take your suppers in your companies

throughout the host, and keep your watches and be wakeful every

man of you. If any Trojan is uneasy about his possessions, let

him gather them and give them out among the people. Better let

these, rather than the Achaeans, have them. At daybreak we will

arm and fight about the ships; granted that Achilles has again

come forward to defend them, let it be as he will, but it shall

go hard with him. I shall not shun him, but will fight him, to

fall or conquer. The god of war deals out like measure to all,

and the slayer may yet be slain."

Thus spoke Hector; and the Trojans, fools that they were, shouted

in applause, for Pallas Minerva had robbed them of their

understanding. They gave ear to Hector with his evil counsel, but

the wise words of Polydamas no man would heed. They took their

supper throughout the host, and meanwhile through the whole night

the Achaeans mourned Patroclus, and the son of Peleus led them in

their lament. He laid his murderous hands upon the breast of his

comrade, groaning again and again as a bearded lion when a man

who was chasing deer has robbed him of his young in some dense

forest; when the lion comes back he is furious, and searches

dingle and dell to track the hunter if he can find him, for he is

mad with rage--even so with many a sigh did Achilles speak among

the Myrmidons saying, "Alas! vain were the words with which I

cheered the hero Menoetius in his own house; I said that I would

bring his brave son back again to Opoeis after he had sacked

Ilius and taken his share of the spoils--but Jove does not give

all men their heart's desire. The same soil shall be reddened

here at Troy by the blood of us both, for I too shall never be

welcomed home by the old knight Peleus, nor by my mother Thetis,

but even in this place shall the earth cover me. Nevertheless, O

Patroclus, now that I am left behind you, I will not bury you,

till I have brought hither the head and armour of mighty Hector

who has slain you. Twelve noble sons of Trojans will I behead

before your bier to avenge you; till I have done so you shall lie

as you are by the ships, and fair women of Troy and Dardanus,

whom we have taken with spear and strength of arm when we sacked

men's goodly cities, shall weep over you both night and day."

Then Achilles told his men to set a large tripod upon the fire

that they might wash the clotted gore from off Patroclus. Thereon

they set a tripod full of bath water on to a clear fire: they

threw sticks on to it to make it blaze, and the water became hot

as the flame played about the belly of the tripod. When the water

in the cauldron was boiling they washed the body, anointed it

with oil, and closed its wounds with ointment that had been kept

nine years. Then they laid it on a bier and covered it with a

linen cloth from head to foot, and over this they laid a fair

white robe. Thus all night long did the Myrmidons gather round

Achilles to mourn Patroclus.

Then Jove said to Juno his sister-wife, "So, Queen Juno, you have

gained your end, and have roused fleet Achilles. One would think

that the Achaeans were of your own flesh and blood."

And Juno answered, "Dread son of Saturn, why should you say this

thing? May not a man though he be only mortal and knows less than

we do, do what he can for another person? And shall not I--

foremost of all goddesses both by descent and as wife to you who

reign in heaven--devise evil for the Trojans if I am angry with

them?"

Thus did they converse. Meanwhile Thetis came to the house of

Vulcan, imperishable, star-bespangled, fairest of the abodes in

heaven, a house of bronze wrought by the lame god's own hands.

She found him busy with his bellows, sweating and hard at work,

for he was making twenty tripods that were to stand by the wall

of his house, and he set wheels of gold under them all that they

might go of their own selves to the assemblies of the gods, and

come back again--marvels indeed to see. They were finished all

but the ears of cunning workmanship which yet remained to be

fixed to them: these he was now fixing, and he was hammering at

the rivets. While he was thus at work silver-footed Thetis came

to the house. Charis, of graceful head-dress, wife to the

far-famed lame god, came towards her as soon as she saw her, and

took her hand in her own, saying, "Why have you come to our

house, Thetis, honoured and ever welcome--for you do not visit us

often? Come inside and let me set refreshment before you."

The goddess led the way as she spoke, and bade Thetis sit on a

richly decorated seat inlaid with silver; there was a footstool

also under her feet. Then she called Vulcan and said, "Vulcan,

come here, Thetis wants you"; and the far-famed lame god

answered, "Then it is indeed an august and honoured goddess who

has come here; she it was that took care of me when I was

suffering from the heavy fall which I had through my cruel

mother's anger--for she would have got rid of me because I was

lame. It would have gone hardly with me had not Eurynome,

daughter of the ever-encircling waters of Oceanus, and Thetis,

taken me to their bosom. Nine years did I stay with them, and

many beautiful works in bronze, brooches, spiral armlets, cups,

and chains, did I make for them in their cave, with the roaring

waters of Oceanus foaming as they rushed ever past it; and no one

knew, neither of gods nor men, save only Thetis and Eurynome who

took care of me. If, then, Thetis has come to my house I must

make her due requital for having saved me; entertain her,

therefore, with all hospitality, while I put by my bellows and

all my tools."

On this the mighty monster hobbled off from his anvil, his thin

legs plying lustily under him. He set the bellows away from the

fire, and gathered his tools into a silver chest. Then he took a

sponge and washed his face and hands, his shaggy chest and brawny

neck; he donned his shirt, grasped his strong staff, and limped

towards the door. There were golden handmaids also who worked for

him, and were like real young women, with sense and reason, voice

also and strength, and all the learning of the immortals; these

busied themselves as the king bade them, while he drew near to

Thetis, seated her upon a goodly seat, and took her hand in his

own, saying, "Why have you come to our house, Thetis honoured and

ever welcome--for you do not visit us often? Say what you want,

and I will do it for you at once if I can, and if it can be done

at all."

Thetis wept and answered, "Vulcan, is there another goddess in

Olympus whom the son of Saturn has been pleased to try with so

much affliction as he has me? Me alone of the marine goddesses

did he make subject to a mortal husband, Peleus son of Aeacus,

and sorely against my will did I submit to the embraces of one

who was but mortal, and who now stays at home worn out with age.

Neither is this all. Heaven vouchsafed me a son, hero among

heroes, and he shot up as a sapling. I tended him as a plant in a

goodly garden and sent him with his ships to Ilius to fight the

Trojans, but never shall I welcome him back to the house of

Peleus. So long as he lives to look upon the light of the sun, he

is in heaviness, and though I go to him I cannot help him; King

Agamemnon has made him give up the maiden whom the sons of the

Achaeans had awarded him, and he wastes with sorrow for her sake.

Then the Trojans hemmed the Achaeans in at their ships' sterns

and would not let them come forth; the elders, therefore, of the

Argives besought Achilles and offered him great treasure, whereon

he refused to bring deliverance to them himself, but put his own

armour on Patroclus and sent him into the fight with much people

after him. All day long they fought by the Scaean gates and would

have taken the city there and then, had not Apollo vouchsafed

glory to Hector and slain the valiant son of Menoetius after he

had done the Trojans much evil. Therefore I am suppliant at your

knees if haply you may be pleased to provide my son, whose end is

near at hand, with helmet and shield, with goodly greaves fitted

with ancle-clasps, and with a breastplate, for he lost his own

when his true comrade fell at the hands of the Trojans, and he

now lies stretched on earth in the bitterness of his soul."

And Vulcan answered, "Take heart, and be no more disquieted about

this matter; would that I could hide him from death's sight when

his hour is come, so surely as I can find him armour that shall

amaze the eyes of all who behold it."

When he had so said he left her and went to his bellows, turning

them towards the fire and bidding them do their office. Twenty

bellows blew upon the melting-pots, and they blew blasts of every

kind, some fierce to help him when he had need of them, and

others less strong as Vulcan willed it in the course of his work.

He threw tough copper into the fire, and tin, with silver and

gold; he set his great anvil on its block, and with one hand

grasped his mighty hammer while he took the tongs in the other.

First he shaped the shield so great and strong, adorning it all

over and binding it round with a gleaming circuit in three

layers; and the baldric was made of silver. He made the shield in

five thicknesses, and with many a wonder did his cunning hand

enrich it.

He wrought the earth, the heavens, and the sea; the moon also at

her full and the untiring sun, with all the signs that glorify

the face of heaven--the Pleiads, the Hyads, huge Orion, and the

Bear, which men also call the Wain and which turns round ever in

one place, facing. Orion, and alone never dips into the stream of

Oceanus.

He wrought also two cities, fair to see and busy with the hum of

men. In the one were weddings and wedding-feasts, and they were

going about the city with brides whom they were escorting by

torchlight from their chambers. Loud rose the cry of Hymen, and

the youths danced to the music of flute and lyre, while the women

stood each at her house door to see them.

Meanwhile the people were gathered in assembly, for there was a

quarrel, and two men were wrangling about the blood-money for a

man who had been killed, the one saying before the people that he

had paid damages in full, and the other that he had not been

paid. Each was trying to make his own case good, and the people

took sides, each man backing the side that he had taken; but the

heralds kept them back, and the elders sate on their seats of

stone in a solemn circle, holding the staves which the heralds

had put into their hands. Then they rose and each in his turn

gave judgement, and there were two talents laid down, to be given

to him whose judgement should be deemed the fairest.

About the other city there lay encamped two hosts in gleaming

armour, and they were divided whether to sack it, or to spare it

and accept the half of what it contained. But the men of the city

would not yet consent, and armed themselves for a surprise; their

wives and little children kept guard upon the walls, and with

them were the men who were past fighting through age; but the

others sallied forth with Mars and Pallas Minerva at their head--

both of them wrought in gold and clad in golden raiment, great

and fair with their armour as befitting gods, while they that

followed were smaller. When they reached the place where they

would lay their ambush, it was on a riverbed to which live stock

of all kinds would come from far and near to water; here, then,

they lay concealed, clad in full armour. Some way off them there

were two scouts who were on the look-out for the coming of sheep

or cattle, which presently came, followed by two shepherds who

were playing on their pipes, and had not so much as a thought of

danger. When those who were in ambush saw this, they cut off the

flocks and herds and killed the shepherds. Meanwhile the

besiegers, when they heard much noise among the cattle as they

sat in council, sprang to their horses, and made with all speed

towards them; when they reached them they set battle in array by

the banks of the river, and the hosts aimed their bronze-shod

spears at one another. With them were Strife and Riot, and fell

Fate who was dragging three men after her, one with a fresh

wound, and the other unwounded, while the third was dead, and she

was dragging him along by his heel: and her robe was bedrabbled

in men's blood. They went in and out with one another and fought

as though they were living people haling away one another's dead.

He wrought also a fair fallow field, large and thrice ploughed

already. Many men were working at the plough within it, turning

their oxen to and fro, furrow after furrow. Each time that they

turned on reaching the headland a man would come up to them and

give them a cup of wine, and they would go back to their furrows

looking forward to the time when they should again reach the

headland. The part that they had ploughed was dark behind them,

so that the field, though it was of gold, still looked as if it

were being ploughed--very curious to behold.

He wrought also a field of harvest corn, and the reapers were

reaping with sharp sickles in their hands. Swathe after swathe

fell to the ground in a straight line behind them, and the

binders bound them in bands of twisted straw. There were three

binders, and behind them there were boys who gathered the cut

corn in armfuls and kept on bringing them to be bound: among them

all the owner of the land stood by in silence and was glad. The

servants were getting a meal ready under an oak, for they had

sacrificed a great ox, and were busy cutting him up, while the

women were making a porridge of much white barley for the

labourers' dinner.

He wrought also a vineyard, golden and fair to see, and the vines

were loaded with grapes. The bunches overhead were black, but the

vines were trained on poles of silver. He ran a ditch of dark

metal all round it, and fenced it with a fence of tin; there was

only one path to it, and by this the vintagers went when they

would gather the vintage. Youths and maidens all blithe and full

of glee, carried the luscious fruit in plaited baskets; and with

them there went a boy who made sweet music with his lyre, and

sang the Linos-song with his clear boyish voice.

He wrought also a herd of horned cattle. He made the cows of gold

and tin, and they lowed as they came full speed out of the yards

to go and feed among the waving reeds that grow by the banks of

the river. Along with the cattle there went four shepherds, all

of them in gold, and their nine fleet dogs went with them. Two

terrible lions had fastened on a bellowing bull that was with the

foremost cows, and bellow as he might they haled him, while the

dogs and men gave chase: the lions tore through the bull's thick

hide and were gorging on his blood and bowels, but the herdsmen

were afraid to do anything, and only hounded on their dogs; the

dogs dared not fasten on the lions but stood by barking and

keeping out of harm's way.

The god wrought also a pasture in a fair mountain dell, and a

large flock of sheep, with a homestead and huts, and sheltered

sheepfolds.

Furthermore he wrought a green, like that which Daedalus once

made in Cnossus for lovely Ariadne. Hereon there danced youths

and maidens whom all would woo, with their hands on one another's

wrists. The maidens wore robes of light linen, and the youths

well woven shirts that were slightly oiled. The girls were

crowned with garlands, while the young men had daggers of gold

that hung by silver baldrics; sometimes they would dance deftly

in a ring with merry twinkling feet, as it were a potter sitting

at his work and making trial of his wheel to see whether it will

run, and sometimes they would go all in line with one another,

and much people was gathered joyously about the green. There was

a bard also to sing to them and play his lyre, while two tumblers

went about performing in the midst of them when the man struck up

with his tune.

All round the outermost rim of the shield he set the mighty

stream of the river Oceanus.

Then when he had fashioned the shield so great and strong, he

made a breastplate also that shone brighter than fire. He made a

helmet, close fitting to the brow, and richly worked, with a

golden plume overhanging it; and he made greaves also of beaten

tin.

Lastly, when the famed lame god had made all the armour, he took

it and set it before the mother of Achilles; whereon she darted

like a falcon from the snowy summits of Olympus and bore away the

gleaming armour from the house of Vulcan.

 Homer

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