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Then when the king of men Agamemnon heard this word, he forthwith dispersed the folk amid the shapely ships, but they that were neareat and dearest to the dead abode there, and heaped up the wood, and made a pyre of an hundred feet this way and that, [165] and on the topmost part thereof they set the dead man, their hearts sorrow-laden. And many goodly sheep and many sleek kine of shambling gait they flayed and dressed before the pyre; and from them all great-souled Achilles gathered the fat, and enfolded the dead therein from head to foot, and about him heaped the flayed bodies. [170] And thereon he set two-handled jars of honey and oil, leaning them against the bier; and four horses with high arched neeks he cast swiftly upon the pyre, groaning aloud the while. Nine dogs had the prince, that fed beneath his table, and of these did Achilles cut the throats of twain, and cast them upon the pyre. [175] And twelve valiant sons of the great-souled Trojans slew he with the bronze—and grim was the work he purposed in his heart and thereto he set the iron might of fire, to range at large. Then he uttered a groan, and called on his dear comrade by name: “Hail, I bid thee, O Patroclus, even in the house of Hades, [180] for now am I bringing all to pass, which afore-time I promised thee. Twelve valiant sons of the great-souled Trojans, lo all these together with thee the flame devoureth; but Hector, son of Priam, will I nowise give to the fire to feed upon, but to dogs.” So spake he threatening, but with Hector might no dogs deal; [185] nay, the daughter of Zeus, Aphrodite, kept dogs from him by day alike and by night, and with oil anointed she him, rose-sweet, ambrosial, to the end that Achilles might not tear him as he dragged him. And over him Phoebus Apollo drew a dark cloud from heaven to the plain, and covered all the place [190] whereon the dead man lay, lest ere the time the might of the sun should shrivel his flesh round about on his sinews and limbs.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 475
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