As for me, I have no strength nor stay in me any longer; would that I were still young and strong as in the days when there was a fight between us and the men of Elis
about some cattle-raiding. I then killed Itymoneus the valiant son of Hypeirochos a dweller in Elis
, as I was driving in the spoil; he was hit by a dart thrown my hand while fighting in the front rank in defense of his cows, so he fell and the country people around him were in great fear. We drove off a vast quantity of booty from the plain, fifty herds of cattle and as many flocks of sheep; fifty droves also of pigs, and as many wide-spreading flocks of goats. Of horses moreover we seized a hundred and fifty, all of them mares, and many had foals running with them. All these did we drive by night to Pylos
the city of Neleus, taking them within the city; and the heart of Neleus was glad in that I had taken so much, though it was the first time I had ever been in the field. At daybreak the heralds went round crying that all in Elis
to whom there was a debt owing should come; and the leading Pylians assembled to divide the spoils. There were many to whom the Epeans owed chattels, for we men of Pylos
were few and had been oppressed with wrong; in former years Herakles had come, and had laid his hand heavy upon us, so that all our best men had perished. Neleus had had twelve sons, but I alone was left; the others had all been killed. The Epeans presuming upon all this had looked down upon us and had done us much evil. My father chose [krinô] a herd of cattle and a great flock of sheep - three hundred in all - and he took their shepherds with him, for there was a great debt due to him in Elis
, to wit four horses, winners of prizes. They and their chariots with them had gone to the games and were to run for a tripod, but King Augeas took them, and sent back their driver grieving for the loss of his horses. Neleus was angered by what he had both said and done, and took great value in return, but he gave the rest to the people of the district [dêmos] to divide among themselves, so that no man might have less than his full share.
"Thus did we order all things, and offer sacrifices to the gods throughout the city; but three days afterwards the Epeans came in a body, many in number, they and their chariots, in full array, and with them the two Moliones in their armor, though they were still lads and unused to fighting. Now there is a certain town, Thryoessa, perched upon a rock on the river Alpheus, the border city Pylos
; this they would destroy, and pitched their camp about it, but when they had crossed their whole plain, Athena darted down by night from Olympus
and bade us set ourselves in array; and she found willing warriors in Pylos
, for the men meant fighting. Neleus would not let me arm, and hid my horses, for he said that as yet I could know nothing about war; nevertheless Athena so ordered the fight that, all on foot as I was, I fought among our mounted forces and vied with the foremost of them. There is a river Minyeios that falls into the sea near Arene
, and there they that were mounted (and I with them) waited till morning, when the companies of foot soldiers came up with us in force. Thence in full panoply and equipment we came towards noon to the sacred waters of the Alpheus, and there we offered victims to almighty Zeus, with a bull to Alpheus, another to Poseidon, and a herd-heifer to Athena. After this we took supper in our companies, and laid us down to rest each in his armor by the river.
"The Epeans were beleaguering the city and were determined to take it, but ere this might be there was a desperate fight in store for them. When the sun's rays began to fall upon the earth we joined battle, praying to Zeus and to Athena, and when the fight had begun, I was the first to kill my man and take his horses - to wit the warrior Moulios. He was son-in-law to Augeas, having married his eldest daughter, golden-haired Agamede, who knew the virtues of every herb which grows upon the face of the earth. I speared him as he was coming towards me,
and when he fell headlong in the dust, I sprang upon his chariot and took my place in the front ranks. The Epeans fled in all directions when they saw the leader of their horsemen (the best man they had) laid low, and I swept down on them like a whirlwind, taking fifty chariots - and in each of them two men bit the dust, slain by my spear. I should have even killed the two Moliones sons of Aktor, unless their real father, Poseidon lord of the earthquake, had hidden them in a thick mist and borne them out of the fight. Thereon Zeus granted the Pylians a great victory, for we chased them far over the plain, killing the men and bringing in their armor, till we had brought our horses to Bouprasion rich in wheat and to the Olenian rock, with the hill that is called Alision, at which point Athena turned the people back. There I slew the last man and left him; then the Achaeans drove their horses back from Bouprasion to Pylos
and gave thanks to Zeus among the gods, and among mortal men to Nestor.
"Such was I among my peers, as surely as ever was, but Achilles is for keeping all his valor [aretê] for himself; bitterly will he rue it hereafter when the host is being cut to pieces. My good friend, did not Menoitios charge you thus, on the day when he sent you from Phthia
to Agamemnon? Odysseus and I were in the house, inside, and heard all that he said to you; for we came to the fair house of Peleus while beating up recruits throughout all Achaea
, and when we got there we found Menoitios and yourself, and Achilles with you. The old horseman Peleus was in the outer court, roasting the fat thigh-bones of a heifer to Zeus the lord of thunder; and he held a gold chalice in his hand from which he poured drink-offerings of wine over the burning sacrifice. You two were busy cutting up the heifer, and at that moment we stood at the gates, whereon Achilles sprang to his feet, led us by the hand into the house, placed us at table, and set before us such hospitable entertainment as is right [themis] for guests to expect.
When we had satisfied ourselves with meat and drink, I said my say and urged both of you to join us. You were ready enough to do so, and the two old men charged you much and straitly. Old Peleus bade his son Achilles fight ever among the foremost and outvie his peers, while Menoitios the son of Aktor spoke thus to you: ‘My son,’ said he, ‘Achilles is of nobler birth than you are, but you are older than he, though he is far the better man of the two. Counsel him wisely, guide him in the right way, and he will follow you to his own profit.’ Thus did your father charge you, but you have forgotten; nevertheless, even now, say all this to Achilles if he will listen to you. Who knows but with the help of a daimôn you may talk him over, for it is good to take a friend's advice. If, however, he is fearful about some oracle, or if his mother has told him something from Zeus, then let him send you, and let the rest of the Myrmidons follow with you, if perchance you may bring light and saving to the Danaans. And let him send you into battle clad in his own armor, that the Trojans may mistake you for him and leave off fighting; the sons of the Achaeans may thus have time to get their breath, for they are hard pressed and there is little breathing time in battle. You, who are fresh, might easily drive a tired enemy back to his walls and away from the tents and ships."
With these words he moved the heart of Patroklos, who set off running by the line of the ships to Achilles, descendant of Aiakos. When he had got as far as the ships of Odysseus, where was their place of assembly and rendering of judgment [themis], with their altars dedicated to the gods, Eurypylos son of Euaemon met him, wounded in the thigh with an arrow, and limping out of the fight. Sweat rained from his head and shoulders, and black blood welled from his cruel wound, but his mind [noos] did not wander. The son of Menoitios when he saw him had compassion upon him and spoke piteously saying,
"O unhappy princes and counselors of the Danaans, are you then doomed to feed the hounds of Troy
with your fat, far from your friends and your native land? say, noble Eurypylos, will the Achaeans be able to hold great Hektor in check, or will they fall now before his spear?"