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Diomedes all undaunted answered, "Archer, you who without your bow are nothing, slanderer and seducer, if you were to be tried in single combat fighting in full armor, your bow and your arrows would serve you in little stead. Vain is your boast in that you have scratched the sole of my foot. I care no more than if a girl or some silly boy had hit me. A worthless coward can inflict but a light wound; when I wound a man though I but graze his skin it is another matter, for my weapon will lay him low.

His wife will tear her cheeks for grief and his children will be fatherless: there will he rot, reddening the earth with his blood, and vultures, not women, will gather round him."

Thus he spoke, but Odysseus came up and stood over him. Under this cover he sat down to draw the arrow from his foot, and sharp was the pain he suffered as he did so. Then he sprang on to his chariot and bade the charioteer drive him to the ships, for he was sick at heart.

Odysseus was now alone; not one of the Argives stood by him, for they were all panic-stricken. "Alas," said he to himself in his dismay, "what will become of me? It is ill if I turn and flee before these odds, but it will be worse if I am left alone and taken prisoner, for the son of Kronos has struck the rest of the Danaans with panic. But why talk to myself in this way? Well do I know that though cowards quit the field, a hero, whether he wound or be wounded, must stand firm and hold his own."

While he was thus in two minds, the ranks of the Trojans advanced and hemmed him in, and bitterly did they come to me it. As hounds and lusty youths set upon a wild boar that sallies from his lair whetting his white tusks - they attack him from every side and can hear the gnashing of his jaws, but for all his fierceness they still hold their ground - even so furiously did the Trojans attack Odysseus. First he sprang spear in hand upon Deiopites and wounded him on the shoulder with a downward blow; then he killed Thoon and Ennomos. After these he struck Chersidamas in the loins under his shield as he had just sprung down from his chariot; so he fell in the dust and clutched the earth in the hollow of his hand. These he let lie, and went on to wound Charops son of Hippasus, brother to noble Sokos. Sokos, hero that he was, made all speed to help him, and when he was close to Odysseus he said, "Far-famed Odysseus, insatiable of craft and toil [ponos], this day you shall either boast of having killed both the sons of Hippasus and stripped them of their armor, or you shall fall before my spear."

With these words he struck the shield of Odysseus. The spear went through the shield and passed on through his richly wrought cuirass, tearing the flesh from his side, but Pallas Athena did not suffer it to pierce the entrails of the hero. Odysseus knew that his hour [telos] was not yet come, but he gave ground and said to Sokos, "Wretch, you shall now surely die. You have stayed me from fighting further with the Trojans, but you shall now fall by my spear, yielding glory to myself, and your life-breath [psukhĂȘ] to Hades of the noble steeds."

Sokos had turned in flight, but as he did so, the spear struck him in the back midway between the shoulders, and went right through his chest. He fell heavily to the ground and Odysseus vaunted over him saying, "O Sokos, son of Hippasus tamer of horses, the outcome [telos] of death has been too quick for you and you have not escaped him: poor wretch, not even in death shall your father and mother close your eyes, but the ravening vultures shall enshroud you with the flapping of their dark wings and devour you. Whereas even though I fall the Achaeans will give me my due rites of burial."

So saying he drew Sokos' heavy spear out of his flesh and from his shield, and the blood welled forth when the spear was withdrawn so that he was much dismayed. When the Trojans saw that Odysseus was bleeding they raised a great shout and came on in a body towards him; he therefore gave ground, and called his comrades to come and help him. Thrice did he cry as loudly as man can cry, and thrice did brave Menelaos hear him; he turned, therefore, to Ajax who was close beside him and said, "Ajax, noble son of Telamon, leader of your people, the cry of Odysseus rings in my ears, as though the Trojans had cut him off and were worsting him while he is single-handed. Let us make our way through the throng; it will be well that we defend him; I fear he may come to harm for all his valor if he be left without support, and the Danaans would miss him sorely."

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    • Thomas D. Seymour, Commentary on Homer's Iliad, Books IV-VI, 5.285
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