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So said he, and they all became hushed in silence. Then spake among them Diomedes, good at the war-cry: [220] “Nestor, my heart and proud spirit urge me to enter the camp of the foemen that are near, even of the Trojans; howbeit if some other man were to follow with me, greater comfort would there be, and greater confidence. When two go together, one discerneth before the other [225] how profit may be had; whereas if one alone perceive aught, yet is his wit the shorter, and but slender his device.” So spake he, and many there were that were fain to follow Diomedes. Fain were the two Aiantes, squires of Ares, fain was Meriones, and right fain the son of Nestor, [230] fain was the son of Atreus, Menelaus, famed for his spear, and fain too was the stead-fast Odysseus to steal into the throng of the Trojans, for ever daring was the spirit in his breast. Then among them spake the king of men, Agamemnon: “Diomedes, son of Tydeus, dear to my heart, [235] that man shalt thou choose as thy comrade, whomsoever thou wilt, the best of them that offer themselves, for many are eager. And do not thou out of reverent heart leave the better man behind, and take as thy comrade one that is worse, yielding to reverence, and looking to birth, nay, not though one be more kingly.” [240] So said he, since he feared for the sake of fair-haired Menelaus. But among them spake again Diomedes, good at the war-cry: “If of a truth ye bid me of myself choose me a comrade, how should I then forget godlike Odysseus, whose heart and proud spirit are beyond all others eager [245] in all manner of toils; and Pallas Athene loveth him. If he but follow with me, even out of blazing fire might we both return, for wise above all is he in understanding.” Then spake unto him much enduring goodly Odysseus: “Son of Tydeus, praise me not over-much, neither blame me in aught: [250] this thou sayest among the Argives that themselves know all. Nay, let us go, for verily the night is waning and dawn draweth near; lo, the stars have moved onward, and of the night more than two watches have past, and the third alone is left us.”

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