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And on their side, the Trojans, when they were come back from the fierce conflict, loosed from beneath their cars their swift horses, [245] and gathered themselves in assembly or ever they bethought them to sup. Upon their feet they stood while the gathering was held, neither had any man heart to sit; for they all were holden of fear, seeing Achilles was come forth, albeit he had long kept him aloof from grievous battle. Then among them wise Polydamas was first to speak, [250] the son of Panthous; for he alone looked at once before and after. Comrade was he of Hector, and in the one night were they born: howbeit in speech was one far the best, the other with the spear. He with good intent addressed their gathering, and spake among them: “On both sides, my friends, bethink you well. For my own part I bid you [255] return even now to the city, neither on the plain beside the ships await bright Dawn, for afar from the wall are we. As long as this man continued in wrath against goodly Agamemnon, even so long were the Achaeans easier to fight against; aye, and I too was glad, when hard by the swift ships I spent the night, [260] in hope that we should take the curved ships. But now do I wondrously fear the swift-footed son of Peleus; so masterful is his spirit, he will not be minded to abide in the plain, where in the midst both Trojans and Achaeans share in the fury of Ares; [265] but it is for our city that he will fight, and for our wives. Nay, let us go to the city; hearken ye unto me, for on this wise shall it be. For this present hath immortal night stayed the swift-footed son of Peleus, but if on the morrow he shall come forth in harness and light on us yet abiding here, full well shall many a one come to know him; for with joy shall he that escapeth win to sacred Ilios, [270] and many of the Trojans shall the dogs and vultures devour—far from my ear be the tale thereof. But and if we hearken to my words for all we be loath, this night shall we keep our forces in the place of gathering, and the city shall be guarded by the walls [275] and high gates and by the tall well-polished doors that are set therein, bolted fast. But in the morning at the coming of Dawn arrayed in our armour will we make our stand upon the walls; and the worse will it be for him, if he be minded to come forth from the ships and fight with us to win the wall. [280] Back again to his ships shall he hie him, when he hath given his horses, with high-arched necks, surfeit of coursing to and fro, as he driveth vainly beneath the city. But to force his way within will his heart not suffer him nor shall he lay it waste; ere that shall the swift dogs devour him.”

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