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And Meriones, famed for his spear, made answer: [620] “Aeneas, hard were it for thee, valiant though thou art, to quench the might of every man, whosoever cometh against thee to rake defence. Of mortal stuff, I ween, art thou as well. If so be I should cast, and smite thee fairly with my sharp spear, quickly then, for all thou art strong and trustest in thy hands, [625] shouldst thou yield glory to me, and thy soul to Hades of the goodly steeds.” So spake he, but the valiant son of Menoetius rebuked him, saying: “Meriones, wherefore dost thou, that art a man of valour, speak on this wise? Good friend, it is not for words of reviling that the Trojans will give ground from the corpse; ere that shall the earth hold many a one. [630] For in our hands is the issue of war; that of words is in the council. Wherefore it beseemeth not in any wise to multiply words, but to fight.” So saying, he led the way, and the other followed, a godlike man. And from them—even as the din ariseth of woodcutters in the glades of a mountain, and afar is the sound thereof heard— [635] so from them went up a clanging from the broad-wayed earth, a clanging of bronze and of hide and of well-wrought shields, as they thrust one at the other with swords and two-edged spears. Nor could a man, though he knew him well, any more have discerned goodly Sarpedon, for that he was utterly enwrapped with darts and blood and dust, [640] from his head to the very soles of his feet. And they ever thronged about the corpse as when in a farmstead flies buzz about the full milk-pails, in the season of spring, when the milk drenches the vessels; even so thronged they about the corpse. Nor did Zeus anywise [645] turn his bright eyes from the fierce conflict, but ever looked down upon them, and debated in heart, pondering much about the slaying of Patroclus, whether in the fierce conflict even there over godlike Sarpedon, glorious Hector [650] should slay him likewise with the sword, and should strip the armour from his shoulders, or whether for yet more men he should make the utter toil of war to wax. And as he pondered, this thing seemed to him the better, that the valiant squire of Achilles, Peleus' son, [655] should again drive toward the city the Trojans and Hector, harnessed in bronze, and take the lives of many. In Hector first of all he roused cowardly rout, and he leapt upon his car and turned to flight, and called on the rest of the Trojans to flee; for he knew the turning of the sacred scales of Zeus.

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