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So spake he, and storm-footed Iris hasted to bear his message. [160] She came to the house of Priam, and found therein clamour and wailing. His sons sat about their father within the court sullying their garments with their tears, and in their midst was the old king close-wrapped in his mantle; and upon the old man's head and neck was filth in abundance, [165] which he had gathered in his hands as he grovelled on the earth. And his daughters and his sons' wives were wailing throughout the house, bethinking them of the warriors many and valiant who were lying low, slain by the hands of the Argives. And the messenger of Zeus drew nigh to Priam, and spake to him; [170] softly she uttered her voice, yet trembling gat hold of his himbs:“Be of good courage, O Priam, son of Dardanus, and fear thou not at all. Not to forbode any evil to thee am I come hither, but with good intent. I am a messenger to thee from Zeus, who far away though he be, hath exceeding care for thee and pity. [175] The Olympian biddeth thee ransom goodly Hector, and bear gifts to Achilles which shall make glad his heart; alone do thou go, neither let any man beside of the Trojans go with thee. A herald may attend thee, an elder man, to guide the mules and the light-running waggon, [180] and to carry back to the city the dead, even him that Achilles slew. Let not death be in thy thoughts, neither any fear; such a guide shall go with thee, even Argeiphontes, who shall lead thee, until in his heading he bring thee nigh to Achilles. And when he shall have led thee into the hut, [185] neither shall Achilles himself slay thee nor suffer any other to slay; for not without wisdom is he, neither without purpose, nor yet hardened in sin; nay, with all kindliness will he spare a suppliant man.” When she had thus spoken swift-footed Iris departed; but the king bade his sons [190] make ready the running mule waggon, and bind the wicker box thereon. And himself he went down to the vaulted treasure-chamber, fragrant of cedar wood and high of roof, that held jewels full many: and he called to him Hecabe his wife, and spake:“Lady, from Zeus hath an Olympian messenger come to me, [195] that I go to the ships of the Achaeans to ransom my dear son, and that I bear gifts to Achilles which shall make glad his heart. But come, tell me this, how seemeth it to thy mind? For as touching mine own self, wondrously doth the desire of my heart bid me go thither to the ships, into the wide camp of the Achaeans.”

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