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He spake, and poised his far-shadowing spear and hurled it, [290] and smote full upon the shield of the son of Peleus, and missed him not; but far from the shield the spear leapt back. And Hector waxed wroth for that the swift shaft had flown vainly from his hand, and he stood confounded, for he had no second spear of ash. Then he shouted aloud, and called to Deiphobus of the white shield, [295] and asked of him a long spear; but he was nowise nigh. And Hector knew all in his heart, and spake, saying: “Out upon it, in good sooth have the gods called me to my death. For I deemed that the warrior Deiphobus was at hand, but lo, he is within the wall, and Athene hath beguiled me. [300] Now of a surety is evil death nigh at hand, and no more afar from me, neither is there way of escape. So I ween from of old was the good pleasure of Zeus, and of the son of Zeus, the god that smiteth afar, even of them that aforetime were wont to succour me with ready hearts; but now again is my doom come upon me. Nay, but not without a struggle let me die, neither ingloriously, [305] but in the working of some great deed for the hearing of men that are yet to be.” So saying, he drew his sharp sword that hung beside his flank, a great sword and a mighty, and gathering himself together swooped like an eagle of lofty flight that darteth to the plain through the dark clouds to seize a tender lamb or a cowering hare; [310] even so Hector swooped, brandishing his sharp sword. And Achilles rushed upon him, his beart ful of savage wrath, and before his breast he made a covering of his shield, fair and richly-dight, and tossed his bright [315] four-horned helm; and fair about it waved the plumes wrought of gold, that Hephaestus had set thick about the crest. As a star goeth forth amid stars in the darkness of night, the star of evening, that is set in heaven as the fairest of all; even so went forth a gleam from the keen spear that Achilles poised in his right hand, [320] as he devised evil for goodly Hector, looking the while upon his fair flesh to find where it was most open to a blow. Now all the rest of his flesh was covered by the armour of bronze, the goodly armour that he had stripped from mighty Patroclus when he slew him; but there was an opening where the collar bones part the neck and shoulders, even the gullet, [325] where destruction of life cometh most speedily; even there, as he rushed upon him, goodly Achilles let drive with his spear; and clean out through the tender neck went the point. Howbeit the ashen spear, heavy with bronze, clave not the windpipe, to the end that he might yet make answer and speak unto his foe. Then fell he in the dust, [330] and goodly Achilles exulted over him;“Hector, thou thoughtest, I ween, whilst thou wast spoiling Patroclus, that thou wouldest be safe, and hadst no thought of me that was afar, thou fool. Far from him a helper, mightier far, was left behind at the hollow ships, [335] even I, that have loosed thy knees. Thee shall dogs and birds rend in unseemly wise, but to him shall the Achaeans give burial.”

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