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So spake he in prayer, and Zeus, the counsellor, heard him, [250] and a part the Father granted him, and a part denied. That Patroclus should thrust back the war and battle from the ships he granted; but that he should return safe from out the battle he denied. Achilles then, when he had poured libation and made prayer to father Zeus, went again into his tent, and laid the cup away in the chest, and came forth and [255] stood in front of the hut; for still his heart was fain to look upon the dread conflict of Trojans and Achaeans. But they that were arrayed together with great-hearted Patroclus marched forth, until with high spirits they leapt upon the Trojans. Straightway they poured forth like wasps [260] of the wayside, that boys are wont to stir1 to wrath, ever tormenting them in their nests beside the way, foolish that they are; and a common evil they make for many. And the wasps, if so be some wayfaring ran as he passeth by rouse them unwittingly, [265] fly forth one and all in the valour of their hearts, and fight each in defence of his young; having a heart and spirit like theirs the Myrmidons then poured forth from the ships, and a cry unquenchable arose. But Patroclus called to his comrades with a loud shout:“Myrmidons, ye comrades of Achilles, son of Peleus, [270] be men, my friends, and bethink you of furious valour, to the end that we may win honour for the son of Peleus, that is far the best of the Argives by the ships, himself and his squires that fight in close combat; and that the son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon, may know his blindness in that he honoured not at all the best of the Achaeans.” [275] So saying, he roused the strength and spirit of every man, and on the Trojans they fell all in a throng, and round about them the ships echoed wondrously beneath the shouting of the Achaeans. But when the Trojans saw the valiant son of Menoetius, himself and his squire, shining in their armour, [280] the heart of each man was stirred, and their battalions were shaken, for they deemed that by the ships the swift-footed son of Peleus had cast aside his wrath and had chosen friendliness; and each man gazed about to see how he might escape utter destruction.

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    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 24.306
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