So spake he, and Antilochus had horror, as he heard that word.
Long time was he speechless, and both his eyes were filled with tears, and the flow of his voice was checked. Yet not even so was he neglectful of the bidding of Menelaus, but set him to run, and gave his armour to his peerless comrade Laodocus, that hard beside him was wheeling his single-hoofed horses.
Him then as he wept his feet bare forth from out the battle to bear an evil tale to Peleus' son Achilles. Nor was thy heart, Menelaus, nurtured of Zeus, minded to bear aid to the sore-pressed comrades from whom Antilochus was departed, and great longing was wrought for the men of Pylos.
Howbeit, for their aid he sent goodly Thrasymedes, and himself went again to bestride the warrior Patroclus; and he ran, and took his stand beside the Aiantes, and forthwith spake to them1
: “Yon man have I verily sent forth to the swift ships, to go to Achilles, fleet of foot. Howbeit I deem not
that Achilles will come forth, how wroth soever he be against goodly Hector; for in no wise may he fight against the Trojans unarmed as he is. But let us of ourselves devise the counsel that is best, whereby we may both hale away the corpse, and ourselves escape death and fate amid the battle-din of the Trojans.”
Then great Telamonian Aias answered him: “All this hast thou spoken aright, most glorious Menelaus. But do thou and Meriones stoop with all speed beneath the corpse, and raise him up, and bear him forth from out the toil of war; but behind you we twain will do battle with the Trojans and goodly Hector,
one in heart as we are one in name, even we that aforetime have been wont to stand firm in fierce battle, abiding each by the other's side.”
So spake he, and the others took in their arms the dead from the ground, and lifted him on high in their great might; and thereat the host of the Trojans behind them shouted aloud, when they beheld the Achaeans lifting the corpse.
And they charged straight upon them like hounds that in front of hunting youths dart upon a wounded wild boar: awhile they rush upon him fain to rend him asunder, but whenso he wheeleth among them trusting in his might, then they give ground and shrink in fear, one here, one there;
even so the Trojans for a time ever followed on in throngs, thrusting with swords and two-edged spears, but whenso the twain Aiantes would wheel about and stand against them, then would their colour change, and no man dared dart forth and do battle for the dead.