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While he pondered thus in mind and heart, meanwhile the ranks of the Trojans came on, and Hector led them. Then Menelaus gave ground backward, and left the corpse, ever turning him about like a bearded lion [110] that dogs and men drive from a fold with spears and shouting; and the valiant heart in his breast groweth chill, and sore loth he fareth from the farmstead; even so from Patroclus went fair-haired Menelaus. But he turned him about and stood, when he reached the throng of his comrades, [115] glancing this way and that for great Aias, son of Telamon. Him he marked full quickly on the left of the whole battle, heartening his comrades, and urging them on to fight, for wondrous fear had Phoebus Apollo cast upon them. And he set him to run, and straightway came up to him, and spake, saying: [120] “Aias, come hither, good friend, let us hasten in defence of the dead Patroclus, if so be we may bear forth his corpse at least to Achilles—his naked corpse; but his armour is held by Hector of the flashing helm.” So spake he, and stirred the soul of wise-hearted Aias, and he strode amid the foremost fighters, and with him fair-haired Menelaus. [125] Now Hector, when he had stripped from Patroclus his glorious armour, sought to hale him away that he might cut the head from off his shoulders with the sharp bronze, and drag off the corpse, and give it to the dogs of Troy; but Aias drew near, bearing his shield, that was like a city wall. Then Hector gave ground backward into the throng of his comrades, [130] and leapt upon his chariot, and gave the goodly armour to the Trojans to bear to the city, to be a great glory unto him. But Aias covered the son of Menoetius round about with his broad shield, and stood as a lion over his whelps, [135] one that huntsmen have encountered in the forest as he leadeth his young; then he exulteth in his strength, and draweth down all his brows to cover his eyes; even so did Aias bestride the warrior Patroclus, and hard by him stood the son of Atreus, Menelaus, dear to Ares, nursing great sorrow in his breast.

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    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 12.47
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