So spake he, and they all became hushed in silence; shame had they to deny him, but they feared to meet him. Howbeit at length Menelaus arose among them and spake,
chiding them with words of reviling, and deeply did he groan at heart: “Ah me, Ye braggarts, ye women of Achaea, men no more! Surely shall this be a disgrace dread and dire, if no man of the Danaans shall now go to meet Hector. Nay, may ye one and all turn to earth and water,1
ye that sit there each man with no heart in him, utterly inglorious. Against this man will I myself arm me; but from on high are the issues of victory holden of the immortal gods.”
So spake he, and did on his fair armour. And now Menelaus, would the end of life have appeared for thee
at the hands of Hector, seeing he was mightier far, had not the kings of the Achaeans sprung up and laid hold of thee. And Atreus' son himself, wide-ruling Agamemnon, caught him by the right hand and spake to him, saying: “Thou art mad, Menelaus, nurtured of Zeus, and this thy madness beseemeth thee not.
Hold back, for all thy grief, and be not minded in rivalry to fight with one better than thou, even with Hector, son of Priam, of whom others besides thee are adread. Even Achilles shuddereth to meet this man in battle, where men win glory; and he is better far than thou.
Nay, go thou for this present, and sit thee amid the company of thy fellows; against this man shall the Achaeans raise up another champion. Fearless though he be and insatiate of battle, methinks he will be glad to bend his knees in rest, if so be he escape from the fury of war and the dread conflict.”
So spake the warrior and turned his brother's mind, for he counselled aright; and Menelaus obeyed. Then with gladness his squires took his armour from his shoulders; and Nestor rose up and spake amid the Argives: “Fie upon you! In good sooth is great grief come upon the land of Achaea.
Verily aloud would old Peleus groan, the driver of chariots, goodly counsellor, and orator of the Myrmidons, who on a time questioned me in his own house, and rejoiced greatly as he asked of the lineage and birth of all the Argives. If he were to hear that these were now all cowering before Hector
then would he lift up his hands to the immortals in instant prayer that his soul might depart from his limbs into the house of Hades.