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Now as long as the sun bestrode mid-heaven, so long the missiles of either side reached their mark, and the folk kept falling; but when he turned to the time for the unyoking of oxen, [780] then verily beyond their portion the Achaeans proved the better. Forth from out the range of darts they drew the warrior Cebriones from the battle-din of the Trojans, and stripped the armour from his shoulders; and Patroclus with fell intent leapt upon the Trojans. Thrice then leapt he upon them, the peer of swift Ares, [785] crying a terrible cry, and thrice he slew nine men. But when for the fourth time he rushed on, like a god, then for thee, Patroclus, did the end of life appear; for Phoebus met thee in the fierce conflict, an awful god. And Patroclus marked him not as he passed through the turmuoil, [790] for enfolded in thick mist did he meet him; and Apollo took his stand behind him, and smote his back and broad shoulders with the flat of his hand, and his eyes were made to whirl. And from his head Phoebus Apollo smote the helmet, that rang as it rolled [795] beneath the feet of the horses—the crested helm; and the plumes were befouled with blood and dust. Not until that hour had the gods suffered that helm with plume of horse-hair to be befouled with dust, but ever did it guard the head and comely brow of a godlike man, even of Achilles; but then Zeus vouchsafed it to Hector, [800] to wear upon his head, yet was destruction near at hand for him. And in the hands of Patroclus the far-shadowing spear was wholly broken, the spear, heavy, and huge, and strong, and tipped with bronze; and from his shoulders the tasselled shield with its baldric fell to the ground, and his corselet did Apollo loose—the prince, the son of Zeus. [805] Then blindness seized his mind, and his glorious limbs were loosed beneath him, and he stood in a daze; and from behind him from close at hand a Dardanian smote him upon the back between the shoulders with a cast of his sharp spear, even Panthous' son, Euphorbus, that excelled all men of his years in casting the spear, and in horsemanship, and in speed of foot; and lo, twenty warriors had he already cast [810] from their cars at his first coming with his chariot to learn his lesson of war. He it was that first hurled his spear at thee, knight Patroclus, yet subdued thee not; but he ran back again and mingled with the throng, when he had drawn forth the ashen spear from the flesh, and he abode not [815] Patroclus, unarmed though he was, in the fray. But Patroclus, overcome by the stroke of the god and by the spear, drew back into the throng of his comrades, avoiding fate.

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  • Commentary references to this page (3):
    • Thomas W. Allen, E. E. Sikes, Commentary on the Homeric Hymns, HYMN TO APOLLO
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 6.131
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 13.435
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