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Then again made answer the king of men, Agamemnon: [65] “Nestor, seeing they are fighting at the sterns of the ships, and the well-built wall hath availed not, nor in any wise the trench, whereat the Danaans laboured sore, and hoped in their hearts that it would be an unbreakable bulwark for their ships and for themselves—even so, I ween, must it be the good pleasure of Zeus, supreme in might, [70] that the Achaeans should perish here far from Argos, and have no name. I knew it when with a ready heart he was aiding the Danaans, and I know it now when he is giving glory to our foes, even as to the blessed gods, and hath bound our might and our hands. Nay, come, even as I shall bid, let us all obey. [75] Let us drag down the ships that are drawn up in the first line hard by the sea, and let us draw them all forth into the bright sea, and moor them afloat with anchor-stones, till immortal night shall come, if so be that even at her bidding the Trojans will refrain from war; and thereafter might we drag down all the ships. [80] For in sooth I count it not shame to flee from ruin, nay, not though it be by night. Better it is if one fleeth from ruin and escapeth, than if he be taken.” Then with an angry glance from beneath his brows Odysseus of many wiles addressed him:“Son of Atreus, what a word hath escaped the barrier of thy teeth! Doomed man that thou art, would that thou wert in command of some other, inglorious army, [85] and not king over us, to whom Zeus hath given, from youth right up to age, to wind the skein of grievous wars till we perish, every man of us. Art thou in truth thus eager to leave behind thee the broad-wayed city of the Trojans, for the sake of which we endure many grievous woes? [90] Be silent, lest some other of the Achaeans hear this word, that no man should in any wise suffer to pass through his mouth at all, no man who hath understanding in his heart to utter things that are right, and who is a sceptred king to whom hosts so many yield obedience as are the Argives among whom thou art lord. [95] But now have I altogether scorn of thy wits, that thou speakest thus, seeing thou biddest us, when war and battle are afoot, draw down our well-benched ships to the sea, that so even more than before the Trojans may have their desire, they that be victors even now, and that on us utter destruction may fall. For the Achaeans [100] will not maintain their fight once the ships are drawn down to the sea, but will ever be looking away, and will withdraw them from battle. Then will thy counsel prove our bane, thou leader of hosts.”

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 10.416
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 6.396
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