Now were they got among the ships,1
and the outermost ships encircled them, even they that had been drawn up in the first line; but their foes rushed on.
And the Argives gave way perforce from the outermost ships, but abode there beside their huts, all in one body, and scattered not throughout the camp; for shame withheld them and fear; and unceasingly they called aloud one to the other. And above all others Nestor of Gerenia, the warder of the Achaeans,
besought each man, adjuring him by them that begat him, saying:“My friends, play the man, and take in your hearts shame of other men, and be ye mindful, each man of you, of children and wife, of possessions and of his parents, whether in the case of any they be living or be dead.
For the sake of them that are not here with us do I now beseech you to stand firm, and turn not back in flight.”
So saying, he aroused the strength and spirit of every man, and from their eyes Athene thrust away the wondrous cloud of mist, and mightily did light come to them from either hand,
both from the side of the ships and from that of evil war. And all beheld Hector, good at the war-cry, and his comrades, alike they that stood in the rear and fought not, and all they that did battle by the swift ships.
Now was it no more pleasing to the soul of great-hearted Aias
to stand in the place where the rest of the sons of the Achaeans stood aloof, but he kept faring with long strides up and down the decks of the ships, and he wielded in his hands a long pike for sea-fighting, a pike jointed with rings, of a length two and twenty cubits. And as a man well-skilled in horsemanship
harnesseth together four horses chosen out of many, and driveth them in swift course from the plain toward a great city along a highway, while many marvel at him, both men-folk and women, and ever with sure step he leapeth, and passeth from horse to horse, while they speed on;
even so Aias kept ranging with long strides over the many decks of the swift ships, and his voice went up to heaven, as ever with terrible cries he called to the Danaans to defend their ships and huts. Nor did Hector abide amid the throng of the mail-clad Trojans,
but as a tawny eagle darteth upon a flock of winged fowl that are feeding by a river's bank—a flock of wild geese, or cranes, or long-necked swans, even so Hector made for a dark-prowed ship, rushing straight thereon; and from behind Zeus thrust him on
with exceeding mighty hand, and aroused the host together with him.