While they were stripping the armour from these, meanwhile the Achaeans were flinging themselves into the digged trench and against the palisade,
fleeing this way and that, and were getting them within their wall perforce. And Hector shouted aloud, and called to the Trojans:“Speed ye against the ships, and let be the blood-stained spoils. Whomsoever I shall mark holding aloof from the ships on the further side, on the very spot shall I devise his death, nor shall his
kinsmen and kinswomen give him his due meed of fire in death, but the dogs shall rend him in front of our city.”
So saying, with a downward sweep of his arm he smote his horses with the lash, and called aloud to the Trojans along the ranks; and they all raised a shout, and even with him drave the steeds that drew their chariots, with a wondrous din;
and before them Phoebus Apollo lightly dashed down with his feet the banks of the deep trench, and cast them into the midst thereof, bridging for the men a pathway long and broad, even as far as a spear-cast, when a man hurleth, making trial of his strength.
Therethrough they poured forward rank on rank, and before them went Apollo, bearing the priceless aegis. And full easily did he cast down the wall of the Achaeans, even as when a boy scattereth the sand by the sea, one that makes of it a plaything in his childishness, and then again confounds it with hands and feet as he maketh sport:
so lightly didst thou, O archer1
Phoebus, confound the long toil and labour of the Achaeans, and on themselves send rout.
So then beside their ships the Danaans halted, and were stayed, calling one upon the other, and lifting up their hands to all the gods they made fervent prayer, each man of them;
and most of all prayed Nestor of Gerenia, the warder of the Achaeans, stretching forth his two hands to the starry heaven:“O father Zeus, if ever any man of us in wheat-bearing Argos burned to thee fat thigh-pieces of bull or of ram with the prayer that he might return, and thou didst promise and nod thy head thereto,
be thou now mindful of these things, and ward from us, O Olympian god, the pitiless day of doom, nor suffer the Achaeans thus to be vanquished by the Trojans.”
So he spake in prayer, and Zeus the counsellor thundered aloud, hearing the prayer of the aged son of Neleus.