Then made answer the horseman, Nestor of Gerenia: “Most glorious son of Atreus, Agamemnon, king of men, the gifts that thou offerest the prince Achilles may no man any more condemn.
Come, therefore, let us send forth chosen men to go forthwith to the hut of Peleus' son, Achilles. Nay, rather, whomsoever I shall choose, let them consent. First of all let Phoenix, dear to Zeus, lead the way, and after him great Aias and goodly Odysseus;
and of the heralds let Odius and Eurybates attend them. And now bring ye water for our hands, and bid keep holy silence, that we may make prayer unto Zeus, son of Cronos, if so be he will have compassion upon us.”
So said he and the words that he spake were pleasing unto all. Then heralds poured water over their hands,
and youths filled the bowls brim full of drink, and served out to all, pouring first drops for libation into the cups. But when they had made libation and had drunk to their hearts' content, they went forth from the hut of Agamemnon, son of Atreus. And the horseman, Nestor of Gerenia,
laid straight command upon them with many a glance at each, and chiefly upon Odysseus, that they should make essay to persuade the peerless son of Peleus.
So the twain1
went their way along the shore of the loud-resounding sea, with many an instant prayer to the god that holdeth the earth and shaketh it, that they might easily persuade the great heart of the son of Aeacus.
And they came to the huts and the ships of the Myrmidons, and found him delighting his soul with a clear-toned lyre, fair and richly wrought, whereon was a bridge of silver; this had he taken from the spoil when he laid waste the city of Eëtion. Therewith was he delighting his soul, and he sang of the glorious deeds of warriors;
and Patroclus alone sat over against him in silence, waiting until Aeacus' son should cease from singing. But the twain came forward and goodly Odysseus led the way, and they took their stand before his face; and Achilles leapt up in amazement with the lyre in his hand, and left the seat whereon he sat;
and in like manner Patroclus when he beheld the men uprose. Then swift-footed Achilles greeted the two and spake, saying: “Welcome, verily ye be friends that are come—sore must the need be2
— ye that even in mine anger are to me the dearest of the Achaeans.”
So saying, goodly Achilles led them in
and made them sit on couches and rugs of purple; and forthwith he spake to Patroclus, that was near:“Set forth a larger bowl, thou son of Menoetius; mingle stronger drink, and prepare each man a cup, for these be men most dear, that are beneath my roof.”