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Then with an angry glance from beneath his brows Odysseus of many wiles addressed him: [350] “Son of Atreus, what a word hath escaped the barrier of thy teeth! How sayest thou that we are slack in battle, whenso we Achaeans rouse keen war against the horse-taming Trojans? Thou shalt see, if so be thou wilt and if thou carest aught therefor, the father of Telemachus mingling with the foremost fighters [355] of the horse-taming Trojans. This that thou sayest is as empty wind.” Then lord Agamemnon spake to him with a smile, when he knew that he was wroth, and took back his words:“Zeus-born son of Laertes, Odysseus of many wiles, neither do I chide thee overmuch nor urge thee on, [360] for I know that the heart in thy breast knoweth kindly thoughts, seeing thou art minded even as I am. Nay, come, these things will we make good hereafter, if any harsh word hath been spoken now; and may the gods make all to come to naught.” So saying he left them there and went to others. [365] Then found he the son of Tydeus, Diomedes high of heart, as he stood in his jointed car; and by his side stood Sthenelus, son of Capaneus. At sight of him too lord Agamemnon chid him, and spake and addressed him with winged words: [370] “Ah me, thou son of wise-hearted Tydeus, tamer of horses, why cowerest thou, why gazest thou at the dykes of battle?1 Tydeus of a surety was not wont thus to cower, but far in advance of his comrades to fight against the foe, as they tell who saw him amid the toil of war; for I never [375] met him, neither saw him; but men say that he was pre-eminent over all. Once verily he came to Mycenae, not as an enemy, but as a guest, in company with godlike Polyneices, to gather a host; for in that day they were waging a war against the sacred walls of Thebe, and earnestly did they make prayer that glorious allies be granted them; [380] and the men of Mycenae were minded to grant them, and were assenting even as they bade, but Zeus turned their minds by showing tokens of ill. So when they had departed and were with deep reeds, that coucheth in the grass, there did the Achaeans send forth Tydeus on an embassage. [385] And he went his way, and found the many sons of Cadmus feasting in the house of mighty Eteocles. Then, for all he was a stranger, the horseman Tydeus feared not, all alone though he was amid the many Cadmeians, but challenged them all to feats of strength and in every one vanquished he them [390] full easily; such a helper was Athene to him. But the Cadmeians, goaders of horses, waxed wroth, and as he journeyed back, brought and set a strong ambush, even fifty youths, and two there were as leaders, Maeon, son of Haemon, peer of the immortals, [395] and Autophonus' son, Polyphontes, staunch in fight. But Tydeus even upon these let loose a shameful fate, and slew them all; one only man suffered he to return home; Maeon he sent forth in obedience to the portents of the gods. Such a man was Tydeus of Aetolia; howbeit the son [400] that he begat is worse than he in battle, though in the place of gathering he is better.”

1 181.1

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