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He spoke, but moved not the mind of Zeus, whose counsel it then was to give glory to Hektor. Meanwhile the rest of the Trojans were fighting about the other gates; I, however, am no god to be able to tell about all these things, for the battle raged everywhere about the stone wall as it were a fiery furnace. The Argives, discomfited though they were, were forced to defend their ships, and all the gods who were defending the Achaeans were vexed in spirit; but the Lapiths kept on fighting with might and main.

Thereon Polypoites, mighty son of Peirithoos, hit Damasos with a spear upon his cheek-pierced helmet. The helmet did not protect him, for the point of the spear went through it, and broke the bone, so that the brain inside was scattered about, and he died fighting. He then slew Pylon and Ormenus. Leonteus, of the race of Ares, killed Hippomakhos the son of Antimakhos by striking him with his spear upon the belt. He then drew his sword and sprang first upon Antiphates whom he killed in combat, and who fell face upwards on the earth. After him he killed Menon, Iamenos, and Orestes, and laid them low one after the other.

While they were busy stripping the armor from these heroes, the youths who were led on by Polydamas and Hektor (and these were the greater part and the most valiant of those that were trying to break through the wall and fire the ships) were still standing by the trench, uncertain what they should do; for they had seen a sign from heaven when they had essayed to cross it - a soaring eagle that flew skirting the left wing of their host, with a monstrous blood-red snake in its talons still alive and struggling to escape. The snake was still bent on revenge, wriggling and twisting itself backwards till it struck the bird that held it, on the neck and breast; whereon the bird being in pain, let it fall, dropping it into the middle of the host, and then flew down the wind with a sharp cry. The Trojans were struck with terror when they saw the snake, portent of aegis-bearing Zeus, writhing in the midst of them, and Polydamas went up to Hektor and said, "Hektor, at our councils of war you are ever given to rebuke me, even when I speak wisely, as though it were not well, indeed, that one of the people of the local district [dêmos] should cross your will either in the field or at the council board; you would have them support you always: nevertheless I will say what I think will be best; let us not now go on to fight the Danaans at their ships, for I know what will happen if this soaring eagle which skirted the left wing of our with a monstrous blood-red snake in its talons (the snake being still alive) was really sent as an omen to the Trojans on their essaying to cross the trench. The eagle let go her hold; she did not succeed in taking it home to her little ones, and so will it be - with ourselves;

even though by a mighty effort we break through the gates and wall of the Achaeans, and they give way before us, still we shall not return in good order [kosmos] by the way we came, but shall leave many a man behind us whom the Achaeans will do to death in defense of their ships. Thus would any seer who was expert in these matters, and was trusted by the people, read the portent."

Hektor looked fiercely at him and said, "Polydamas, I like not of your reading. You can find a better saying than this if you will. If, however, you have spoken in good earnest, then indeed has heaven robbed you of your reason. You would have me pay no heed to the counsels of Zeus, nor to the promises he made me - and he bowed his head in confirmation; you bid me be ruled rather by the flight of wild-fowl. What care I whether they flee towards dawn or dark, and whether they be on my right hand or on my left? Let us put our trust rather in the counsel of great Zeus, king of mortals and immortals. There is one omen, and one only - that a man should fight for his country. Why are you so fearful? Though we be all of us slain at the ships of the Argives you are not likely to be killed yourself, for you are not steadfast nor courageous. If you will. not fight, or would talk others over from doing so, you shall fall forthwith before my spear."

With these words he led the way, and the others followed after with a cry that rent the air. Then Zeus the lord of thunder sent the blast of a mighty wind from the mountains of Ida, that bore the dust down towards the ships; he thus lulled the thinking [noos] of the Achaeans into security, and gave victory to Hektor and to the Trojans, who, trusting to their own might and to the signs he had shown them, essayed to break through the great wall of the Achaeans. They tore down the breastworks from the walls, and overthrew the battlements; they upheaved the buttresses, which the Achaeans had set in front of the wall in order to support it; when they had pulled these down they made sure of breaking through the wall, but the Danaans still showed no sign of giving ground; they still fenced the battlements with their shields of ox-hide, and hurled their missiles down upon the foe as soon as any came below the wall.

The two Ajaxes went about everywhere on the walls cheering on the Achaeans, giving fair words to some while they spoke sharply to any one whom they saw to be remiss. "My friends," they cried, "Argives one and all - good bad and indifferent, for there was never fight yet, in which all were of equal prowess - there is now work enough, as you very well know, for all of you. See that you none of you turn in flight towards the ships, daunted by the shouting of the foe, but press forward and keep one another in heart, if it may so be that Olympian Zeus the lord of lightning will grant us to repel our foes, and drive them back towards the city."

Thus did the two go about shouting and cheering the Achaeans on. As the flakes that fall thick upon a winter's day, when Zeus is minded to snow and to display these his arrows to humankind - he lulls the wind to rest, and snows hour after hour till he has buried the tops of the high mountains, the headlands that jut into the sea, the grassy plains, and the tilled fields of men; the snow lies deep upon the forelands, and havens of the gray sea, but the waves as they come rolling in stay it that it can come no further, though all else is wrapped as with a mantle so heavy are the heavens with snow - even thus thickly did the stones fall on one side and on the other, some thrown at the Trojans, and some by the Trojans at the Achaeans; and the whole wall was in an uproar.

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