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So spake she, and the goddess, white-armed Hera smiled thereat. [435] But unto Apollo spake the lord Poseidon, the Shaker of Earth:“Phoebus, wherefore do we twain stand aloof? It beseemeth not, seeing others have begun. Nay, it were the more shameful, if without fighting we should fare back to Olympus, to the house of Zeus with threshold of bronze. Begin, since thou art the younger; [440] it were not meet for me, seeing I am the elder-born and know the more. Fool, how witless is the heart thou hast! Neither rememberest thou all the woes that we twain alone of all the gods endured at Ilios, what time we came [445] at the bidding of Zeus and served the lordly Laomedon for a year's space at a fixed wage, and he was our taskmaster and laid on us his commands. I verily built for the Trojans round about their city a wall, wide and exceeding fair, that the city might never be broken; and thou, Phoebus, didst herd the sleek kine of shambling gait amid the spurs of wooded Ida, the many-ridged. [450] But when at length the glad seasons were bringing to its end the term of our hire, then did dread Laomedon defraud us twain of all hire, and send us away with a threatening word. He threatened that he would bind together our feet and our hands above, and would sell us into isles that lie afar. [455] Aye, and he made as if he would lop off with the bronze the ears of us both. So we twain fared aback with angry hearts, wroth for the hire he promised but gave us not. It is to his folk now that thou showest favour, neither seekest thou with us that the overweening Trojans may perish miserably [460] in utter ruin with their children and their honoured wives.” Then spake unto him lord Apollo, that worketh afar: “Shaker of Earth, as nowise sound of mind wouldest thou count me, if I should war with thee for the sake of mortals, pitiful creatures, that like unto leaves [465] are now full of flaming life, eating the fruit of the field, and now again pine away and perish. Nay, with speed let us cease from strife, and let them do battle by themselves.”

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