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So saying he breathed great might into the horses. And the twain shook the dust from their manes to the ground, and fleetly bare the swift car amid the Trojans and Achaeans. And behind them fought Automedon, albeit he sorrowed for his comrade, swooping [460] with his car as a vulture on a flock of geese, for lightly would he flee from out the battle-din of the Trojans, and lightly charge, setting upon them through the great throng. Howbeit no man might he slay as he hasted to pursue them, for in no wise was it possible for him being alone in the sacred1 car, [465] to assail them with the spear, and withal to hold the swift horses. But at last a comrade espied him with his eyes, even Alcimedon, son of Laerces, son of Haemon, and he halted behind the chariot and spake unto Automedon: “Automedon, what god [470] hath put in thy breast unprofitable counsel and taken from thee thy heart of understanding, that thus in the foremost throng thou fightest with the Trojans, alone as thou art? For thy comrade hath been slain, and his armour Hector weareth on his own shoulders, even the armour of the son of Aeacus, and glorieth therein.” To him then made answer Automedon, son of Diores: [475] “Alcimedon, what man beside of the Achaeans is of like worth to curb and guide the spirit of immortal steeds, save only Patroclus, the peer of the gods in counsel, while yet he lived? But now death and fate have come upon him. Howbeit [480] take thou the lash and the shining reins, and I will dismount to fight” So spake he, and Alcimedon leapt upon the car that was swift in battle, and quickly grasped in his hands the lash and reins; and Automedon leapt down. And glorious Hector espied them, and forthwith spake to Aeneas, that was near: [485] “Aeneas, counsellor of the brazen-coated Trojans, yonder I espy the two horses of the swift-footed son of Aeacus coming forth to view into the battle with weakling charioteers. These twain might I hope to take, if thou in thy heart art willing, seeing the men would not abide the oncoming of us two, [490] and stand to contend with us in battle.”

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