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And fifth Meriones made ready his fair-maned horses. Then they mounted their cars, and cast in the lots; and Achilles shook them, and forth leapt the lot of Nestor's son, Antilochus; after him had the lord Eumelus a place, [355] and next to him Atreus' son, Menelaus, famed for his spear, and next to him Meriones drew his place; and last of all the son of Tydeus, albeit far the best, drew a place for his chariot. Then took they their places in a row, and Achilles shewed them the turning-post afar off in the smooth plain; and thereby he set as an umpire [360] godlike Phoenix, his father's follower, that he might mark the running and tell the truth thereof. Then they all at one moment lifted the lash each above his yoke of horses, and smote them with the reins, and called to them with words, full eagerly and forthwith they sped swiftly over the plain [365] away from the ships and beneath their breasts the dust arose and stood, as it were a cloud or a whirlwind, and their manes streamed on the blasts of the wind. And the chariots would now course over the bounteous earth, and now again would bound on high; and they that drave [370] stood in the cars, and each man's heart was athrob as they strove for victory; and they called every man to his horses, that flew in the dust over the plain. But when now the swift horses were fulfilling the last stretch of the course, back toward the grey sea, then verily was made manifest the worth of each, [375] and the pace of their horses was forced to the uttermost. And forthwith the swift-footed mares of the son of Pheres shot to the front, and after them Diomedes' stallions of the breed of Tros; not far behind were they, but close behind, for they seemed ever like to mount upon [380] Eumelus' car, and with their breath his back waxed warm and his broad shoulders, for right over him did they lean their heads as they flew along. And now would Tydeus' son have passed him by or left the issue in doubt, had not Phoebus Apollo waxed wroth with him and smitten from his hand the shining lash. [385] Then from his eyes ran tears in his wrath for that he saw the mares coursing even far swiftlier still than before, while his own horses were hampered, as running without goad.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Thomas D. Seymour, Commentary on Homer's Iliad, Books I-III, 2.766
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