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So spake he, and Patroclus gave ear to his dear comrade, and went running along the huts and the ships of the Achaeans. But when those others were come to the hut of the son of Neleus, they stepped forth upon the bounteous earth, [620] and Eurymedon the squire loosed old Nestor's horses from the car, and the twain dried the sweat from their tunics standing in the breeze by the shore of the sea; and thereafter they went into the hut and sate them down on chairs. And for them fair-tressed Hecamede mixed a potion, [625] she that old Nestor had taken from out of Tenedos, when Achilles sacked it, the daughter of great-hearted Arsinous; for the Achaeans had chosen her out for him, for that in counsel he was ever best of all. She first drew before the twain a table, fair, with feet of cyanus, and well-polished, and set thereon [630] a basket of bronze, and therewith an onion, a relish for their drink, and pale honey, and ground meal of sacred barley; and beside them a beauteous cup, that the old man had brought from home, studded with bosses of gold; four were the handles thereof, and about each [635] twain doves were feeding, while below were two supports.1 Another man could scarce have availed to lift that cup from the table, when it was full, but old Nestor would raise it right easily. Therein the woman, like to the goddesses, mixed a potion for them with Pramnian wine, and on this she grated cheese of goat's milk [640] with a brazen grater, and sprinkled thereover white barley meal; and she bade them drink, when she had made ready the potion. Then when the twain had drunk, and sent from them parching thirst, they took delight in tales, speaking each to the other; and lo, Patroclus stood at the doors, a godlike man. [645] At sight of him the old man sprang from his bright chair, and took him by the hand and led him in, and bade him be seated. But Patroclus from over against him refused, and spake, saying: “I may not sit, old sir, fostered of Zeus, nor wilt thou persuade me. Revered and to be dreaded is he who sent me forth to learn [650] who it is that thou bringest home wounded. But even of myself I know, and behold Machaon, shepherd of the host. And now will I go back again a messenger, to bear word to Achilles. Well knowest thou, old sir, fostered of Zeus, of what sort is he, dread man; lightly would he blame even one in whom was no blame.”

1 527.1

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