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[400] Such evil toil of men and horses did Zeus on that day strain taut over Patroclus. Nor as yet did goodly Achilles know aught of Patroclus' death, for afar from the swift ships were they fighting beneath the wall of the Trojans. Wherefore Achilles never deemed in his heart [405] that he was dead, but that he would return alive, after he had reached even to the gates; nor yet thought he this in any wise, that Patroclus would sack the city without him, nay, nor with him, for full often had he heard this from his mother, listening to her privily, whenso she brought him tidings of the purpose of great Zeus. [410] Howbeit then his mother told him not how great an evil had been brought to pass, that his comrade, far the dearest, had been slain. But the others round about the corpse, with sharp spears in their hands, ever pressed on continually, and slew each other. And thus would one of the brazen-coated Achaeans say: [415] “Friends, no fair fame verily were it for us to return back to the hollow ships; nay, even here let the black earth gape for us all. That were for us straightway better far, if we are to yield this man to the Trojans, tamers of horses, to hale to their city, and win them glory.” [420] And thus in like manner would one of the great-hearted Trojans speak: “Friends, though it be our fate all together to be slain beside this man, yet let none give backward from the fight.”

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