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So shouted forth the twain, and aroused the battle of the Achaeans. And as flakes of snow fall thick on a winter's day, when Zeus, the counsellor, [280] bestirreth him to snow, shewing forth to men these arrows of his, and he lulleth the winds and sheddeth the flakes continually, until he hath covered the peaks of the lofty mountains and the high headlands, and the grassy plains, and the rich tillage of men; aye, and over the harbours and shores of the grey sea is the snow strewn, [285] albeit the wave as it beateth against it keepeth it off, but all things beside are wrapped therein, when the storm of Zeus driveth it on: even so from both sides their stones flew thick, some upon the Trojans, and some from the Trojans upon the Achaeans, as they cast at one another; and over all the wall the din arose. [290] Yet not even then would the Trojans and glorious Hector have broken the gates of the wall and the long bar, had not Zeus the counsellor roused his own son, Sarpedon, against the Argives, as a lion against sleek kine. Forthwith he held before him his shield that was well balanced upon every side, [295] a fair shield of hammered bronze,—that the bronze-smith had hammered out, and had stitched the many bull's-hides within with stitches1 of gold that ran all about its circuit. This he held before him, and brandished two spears, and so went his way like a mountain-nurtured lion [300] that hath long lacked meat, and his proud spirit biddeth him go even into the close-built fold to make an attack upon the flocks. For even though he find thereby the herdsmen with dogs and spears keeping watch over the sheep, yet is he not minded to be driven from the steading ere he maketh essay; [305] but either he leapeth amid the flock and seizeth one, or is himself smitten as a foremost champion by a javelin from a swift hand: even so did his spirit then urge godlike Sarpedon to rush upon the wall, and break-down the battlements. Straightway then he spake to Glaucus, son of Hippolochus: [310] “Glaucus, wherefore is it that we twain are held in honour above all with seats, and messes, and full cups in Lycia, and all men gaze upon us as on gods? Aye, and we possess a great demesne by the banks of Xanthus, a fair tract of orchard and of wheat-bearing plough-land. [315] Therefore now it behoveth us to take our stand amid the foremost Lycians, and confront the blazing battle that many a one of the mail-clad Lycians may say: “Verily no inglorious men be these that rule in Lycia, even our kings, they that eat fat sheep [320] and drink choice wine, honey-sweet: nay, but their might too is goodly, seeing they fight amid the foremost Lycians. Ah friend, if once escaped from this battle we were for ever to be ageless and immortal, neither should I fight myself amid the foremost, [325] nor should I send thee into battle where men win glory; but now—for in any case fates of death beset us, fates past counting, which no mortal may escape or avoid—now let us go forward, whether we shall give glory to another, or another to us.””

1 565.2

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  • Commentary references to this page (5):
    • Thomas W. Allen, E. E. Sikes, Commentary on the Homeric Hymns, HYMN TO HERMES
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 16.392
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 19.131
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 2.751
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 9.605
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (5):
  • Cross-references in text-specific dictionaries to this page (1):
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