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So he spake, and Patroclus gave ear to his dear comrade. He cast down a great fleshing-block in the light of the fire and laid thereon a sheep's back and a fat goat's, and the chine of a great hog withal, rich with fat. And Automedon held them for him, while goodly Achilles carved. [210] Then he sliced the meat with care and spitted it upon spits, and the son of Menoetius, a godlike man, made the fire blaze high. But when the fire had burned down and the flame was abated, he scattered the embers and laid thereover the spits, and sprinkled the morsels with holy salt when he had set them upon the fire-dogs. But when he had roasted the meat and laid it on platters, [215] Patroclus took bread and dealt it forth on the table in fair baskets, while Achilles dealt the meat. Himself he sate him down over against godlike Odysseus, by the other wall, and bade Patroclus, his comrade, offer sacrifice to the gods; [220] and Patroclus cast burnt-offering into the fire. So they put forth their hands to the good cheer lying ready before them. But when they had put from them the desire of food and drink, Aias nodded to Phoenix; and goodly Odysseus was ware thereof, and filling a cup with wine he pledged Achilles: [225] “Hail, O Achilles, of the equal feast have we no stinting, either in the hut of Agamemnon, son of Atreus, or now in thine; for here is abundance that satisfies the heart to feast withal. Yet matters of the delicious feast are not in our thoughts, nay, Zeus-nurtured one, it is utter ruin that we behold, and are afraid; [230] for it is in doubt whether we save the benched ships or they perish, except thou clothe thee in thy might. Hard by the ships and the wall have the Trojans, high of heart, and their far-famed allies set their bivouac, and kindled many fires throughout the host, and they deem that they shall no more be stayed, [235] but will fall upon our black ships.1 And Zeus, son of Cronos, shows them signs upon the right with his lightnings, and Hector exulting greatly in his might rageth furiously, trusting in Zeus, and recketh not of men nor gods, for mighty madness hath possessed him. [240] His prayer is that with all speed sacred Dawn may appear, for he declareth that he will hew from the ships' sterns the topmost ensigns, and burn the very hulls with consuming fire, and amidst them make havoc of the Achaeans, distraught by reason of the smoke. ”

1 399.1

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