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He spake, and the other was at point to touch his chin with his stout hand [455] and make entreaty, but Diomedes sprang upon him with his sword and smote him full upon the neck, and shore off both the sinews, and even while he was yet speaking his head was mingled with the dust. Then from him they stripped the cap of ferret skin from off his head, and the wolf's hide, and the back-bent bow and the long spear, [460] and these things did goodly Odysseus hold aloft in his hand to Athene, the driver of the spoil, and he made prayer, and spake, saying: “Rejoice, goddess, in these, for on thee, first of all the immortals in Olympus, will we call; but send thou us on against the horses and the sleeping-places of the Thracian warriors.” [465] So spake he, and lifted from him the spoils on high, and set them on a tamarisk bush, and set thereby a mark plain to see, gathering handfuls of reeds and luxuriant branches of tamarisk, lest they two might miss the place as they came back through the swift, black night. But the twain went forward through the arms and the black blood, [470] and swiftly came in their course to the company of the Thracian warriors. Now these were slumbering, foredone with weariness, and their goodly battle-gear lay by them on the ground, all in due order, in three rows, and hard by each man was his yoke of horses.But Rhesus slept in the midst, and hard by him his swift horses [475] were tethered by the reins to the topmost rim of the chariot. Him Odysseus was first to espy, and shewed him to Diomedes: “Lo, here, Diomedes, is the man, and here are the horses whereof Dolon, that we slew, told us. But come now, put forth mighty strength; it beseemeth thee not at all [480] to stand idle with thy weapons; nay, loose the horses; or do thou slay the men, and I will look to the horses.” So spake he, and into the other's heart flashing-eyed Athene breathed might, and he fell to slaving on this side and on that, and from them uprose hideous groaning as they were smitten with the sword, and the earth grew red with blood. [485] And even as a lion cometh on flocks unshepherded, on goats or on sheep, and leapeth upon them with fell intent, so up and down amid the Thracian warriors went the son of Tydeus until he had slain twelve. But whomsoever the son of Tydeus drew nigh and smote with the sword, [490] him would Odysseus of the many wiles seize by the foot from behind and drag aside, with this thought in mind, that the fair-maned horses might easily pass through and not be affrighted at heart as they trod over dead men; for they were as yet unused thereto. But when the son of Tydeus came to the king, [495] him the thirteenth he robbed of honey-sweet life, as he breathed hard, for like to an evil dream there stood above his head that night the son of Oeneus' son, by the devise of Athene. Meanwhile steadfast Odysseus loosed the single-hooved horses and bound them together with the reins, and drave them forth from the throng, [500] smiting them with his bow, for he had not thought to take in his hands the bright whip from the richly dight car; and he whistled to give a sign to goodly Diomedes.

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