So he spoke, and the old man was seized with fear and obeyed his word. He went forth in silence along the shore of the loud-resounding sea, and earnestly then, when he had gone apart, the old man prayed
to the lord Apollo, whom fair-haired Leto bore: “Hear me, god of the silver bow, who stand over Chryse
and holy Cilla, and rule mightily over Tenedos
, Sminthian god,1
if ever I roofed over a temple to your pleasing, or if ever I burned to you fat thigh-pieces of bulls and goats,
fulfill this prayer for me: let the Danaans pay for my tears by your arrows”
So he spoke in prayer, and Phoebus Apollo heard him. Down from the peaks of Olympus
he strode, angered at heart, bearing on his shoulders his bow and covered quiver.
The arrows rattled on the shoulders of the angry god as he moved, and his coming was like the night. Then he sat down apart from the ships and let fly an arrow: terrible was the twang of the silver bow. The mules he assailed first and the swift dogs,
but then on the men themselves he let fly his stinging shafts, and struck; and constantly the pyres of the dead burned thick.
For nine days the missiles of the god ranged among the host, but on the tenth Achilles called the people to assembly, for the goddess, white-armed Hera, had put it in his heart,
since she pitied the Danaans, when she saw them dying. When they were assembled and gathered together, among them arose and spoke swift-footed Achilles:
“Son of Atreus, now I think we shall return home, beaten back again, should we even escape death,
if war and pestilence alike are to ravage the Achaeans. But come, let us ask some seer or priest, or some reader of dreams—for a dream too is from Zeus—who might say why Phoebus Apollo is so angry, whether he finds fault with a vow or a hecatomb;
in hope that he may accept the savour of lambs and unblemished goats, and be willing to ward off the pestilence from us.”