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Then swift-footed goodly Achilles answered her: “Goddess Iris, who of the gods sent thee a messenger to me?” And to him again spake wind-footed, swift Iris: “Hera sent me forth, the glorious wife of Zeus; [185] and the son of Cronos, throned on high, knoweth naught hereof, neither any other of the immortals that dwell upon snowy Olympus.” Then in answer to her spake Achilles, swift of foot: “But how shall I enter the fray? They yonder hold my battle-gear; and my dear mother forbade that I array me for the fight [190] until such time as mine eyes should behold her again coming hither; for she pledged her to bring goodly armour from Hephaestus. No other man know I whose glorious armour I might don, except it were the shield of Aias, son of Telamon. Howbeit himself, I ween, hath dalliance amid the foremost fighters, [195] as he maketh havoc with his spear in defence of dead Patroclus.” And to him again spake wind-footed, swift Iris: “Well know we of ourselves that thy glorious armour is held of them; but even as thou art go thou to the trench, and show thyself to the men of Troy, if so be that, seized with fear of thee, [200] the Trojans may desist from battle, and the warlike sons of the Achaeans may take breath, wearied as they are; for scant is the breathing-space in war.” When she had thus spoken swift-footed Iris departed; but Achilles, dear to Zeus, roused him, and round about his mighty shoulders Athene flung her tasselled aegis, [205] and around his head the fair goddess set thick a golden cloud, and forth from the man made blaze a gleaming fire. And as when a smoke goeth up from a city and reacheth to heaven from afar, from an island that foes beleaguer, and the men thereof contend the whole day through in hateful war [210] from their city's walls, and then at set of sun flame forth the beacon-fires one after another and high aloft darteth the glare thereof for dwellers round about to behold, if so be they may come in their ships to be warders off of bane; even so from the head of Achilles went up the gleam toward heaven. [215] Then strode he from the wall to the trench, and there took his stand, yet joined him not to the company of the Achaeans, for he had regard to his mother's wise behest. There stood he and shouted, and from afar Pallas Athene uttered her voice; but amid the Trojans he roused confusion unspeakable.

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    • Thomas W. Allen, E. E. Sikes, Commentary on the Homeric Hymns, HYMN TO DEMETER
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