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Then in answer to him spake lord Agamemnon: “Need have we, both thou and I, O Menelaus, fostered of Zeus, of shrewd counsel that shall save and deliver [45] the Argives and their ships, seeing the mind of Zeus is turned. To the sacrifices of Hector, it seemeth, his heart inclineth rather than to ours. For never have I seen neither heard by the telling of another that one man devised in one day so many terrible deeds, as Hector, dear to Zeus, hath wrought upon the sons of the Achaeans, by himself alone, [50] he that is not the dear son of goddess or of god. Deeds hath he wrought that methinks will be a sorrow to the Argives for ever and aye, so many evils hath he devised against the Achaeans. But go now, run swiftly along the lines of ships and call hither Aias and Idomeneus, and I will go to goodly Nestor [55] and bid him arise, if so be he will be minded to go to the sacred company of the sentinels and give them charge. To him would they hearken as to no other, for his son is captain over the guard, he and Meriones, comrade of Idomeneus; for to them above all we entrusted this charge.” [60] Then made answer to him Menelaus, good at the war-cry: “With what meaning doth thy word thus charge and command me? Shall I abide there with them, waiting until thou shalt come, or run back to thee again, when I have duly laid on them thy command?” And to him did the king of men, Agamemnon, make answer, saying: [65] “Abide there, lest haply we miss each other as we go, for many are the paths throughout the camp. But lift up thy voice wheresoever thou goest, and bid men be awake, calling each man by his lineage and his father's name, giving due honour to each, and be not thou proud of heart [70] but rather let us ourselves be busy; even thus I ween hath Zeus laid upon us even at our birth the heaviness of woe.” So spake he, and sent forth his brother when he had duly given him commandment. But he went his way after Nestor, shepherd of the host, and found him by his hut and his black ship [75] on his soft bed, and beside him lay his armour richly dight, his shield and two spears and gleaming helmet. And by his side lay the flashing girdle, wherewith the old man was wont to gird himself, whenso he arrayed him for battle, the bane of men, and led forth his people, for he yielded not to grievous old age. [80] He rose upon his elbow, lifting up his head, and spake to the son of Atreus, and questioned him, saying: “Who art thou that art faring alone by the ships throughout the camp in the darkness of night, when other mortals are sleeping? Seekest thou one of thy mules, or of thy comrades? [85] Speak, and come not silently upon me. Of what hast thou need?”

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