Thus then they were warring around the well-benched ship, but Patroclus drew nigh to Achilles, shepherd of the host, shedding hot tears, even as a fountain of dark water that down over the face of a beetling cliff poureth its dusky stream;
and swift-footed goodly Achilles had pity when he saw him, and spake and addressed him with winged words: “Why, Patroclus, art thou bathed in tears, like a girl, a mere babe, that runneth by her mother's side and biddeth her take her up, and clutcheth at her gown, and hindereth her in her going,
and tearfully looketh up at her, till the mother take her up? Even like her, Patroclus, dost thou let fall round tears. Hast thou haply somewhat to declare to the Myrmidons or to mine own self, or is it some tidings out of Phthia that thyself alone hast heard? Still lives Menoetius, men tell us, Actor's son,
and still lives Peleus. son of Aeacus, amid the Myrmidons, for which twain would we grieve right sore, were they dead. Or art thou sorrowing for the Argives, how they are being slain beside the hollow ships by reason of their own presumptuous act? Speak out; hide it not in thy mind;that we both may know.”
Then with a heavy groan, didst thou make answer, O knight Patroclus:“O Achilles, son of Peleus, far the mightiest of the Achaeans, be not wroth; so great a sorrow hath overmastered the Achaeans. For verily all they that aforetime were bravest, lie among the ships smitten by darts or wounded with spear-thrusts.
Smitten is the son of Tydeus, mighty Diomedes, wounded with spear-thrust is Odysseus, famed for his spear, and Agamemnon, and smitten, too, is Eurypylus with an arrow in the thigh. About these the leeches, skilled in many simples, are busied, seeking to heal their wounds; but with thee may no man deal, Achilles.
Never upon me let such wrath lay hold, as that thou dost cherish, O thou whose valour is but a bane! Wherein shall any other even yet to be born have profit of thee, if thou ward not off shameful ruin from the Argives? Pitiless one, thy father, meseems, was not the knight Peleus, nor was Thetis thy mother, but the grey sea bare thee,
and the beetling cliffs, for that thy heart is unbending. But if in thy mind thou art shunning some oracle, and thy queenly mother hath declared to thee aught from Zeus, yet me at least send thou forth speedily, and with me let the rest of the host of the Myrmidons follow, if so be I may prove a light of deliverance to the Danaans.
And grant me to buckle upon my shoulders that armour of thine, in hope that the Trojans may take me for thee, and so desist from war, and the warlike sons of the Achaeans may take breath, wearied as they are; for scant is the breathing-space in battle. And lightly might we that are unwearied
drive men that are wearied with the battle back to the city from the ships and the huts.”