And Ajax son of Telamon answered, "I too feel my hands grasp my spear more firmly; my strength is greater, and my feet more nimble; I long, moreover, to meet furious Hektor son of Priam, even in single combat."
Thus did they converse, exulting in the hunger after battle with which the god had filled them. Meanwhile the earth-encircler roused the Achaeans, who were resting in the rear by the ships overcome at once by hard fighting and by grief [akhos] at seeing that the Trojans had got over the wall in force. Tears began falling from their eyes as they beheld them, for they made sure that they should not escape destruction; but the lord of the earthquake passed lightly about among them and urged their battalions to the front.
First he went up to Teucer and Leitos, the hero Peneleos, and Thoas and Deipyros; Meriones also and Antilokhos, valiant warriors; all did he exhort. "Shame [aidôs] on you young Argives," he cried, "it was on your prowess I relied for the saving of our ships;
if you fight not with might and main, this very day will see us overcome by the Trojans. Of a truth my eyes behold a great and terrible portent which I had never thought to see - the Trojans at our ships - they, who were heretofore like panic-stricken hinds, the prey of jackals and wolves in a forest, with no strength but in flight for they cannot defend themselves. Hitherto the Trojans dared not for one moment face the attack of the Achaeans, but now they have sallied far from their city and are fighting at our very ships through the cowardice of our leader and the disaffection of the people themselves, who in their discontent care not to fight in defense of the ships but are being slaughtered near them. True, King Agamemnon son of Atreus is responsible [aitios] for our disaster by having insulted the son of Peleus, still this is no reason why we should leave off fighting. Let us be quick to heal, for the hearts of the brave heal quickly. You do ill to be thus remiss, you, who are the finest warriors in our whole army. I blame no man for keeping out of battle if he is a weakling, but I am indignant with such men as you are. My good friends, matters will soon become even worse through this slackness; think, each one of you, of his own respect [aidôs] and sense of nemesis, for the hazard of the fight is extreme. Great Hektor is now fighting at our ships; he has broken through the gates and the strong bolt that held them."
Thus did the earth-encircler address the Achaeans and urge them on. Thereon round the two Ajaxes there gathered strong bands of men, of whom not even Ares nor Athena, marshaler of hosts could make light if they went among them, for they were the picked [krinô] men of all those who were now awaiting the onset of Hektor and the Trojans. They made a living fence, spear to spear, shield to shield, buckler to buckler, helmet to helmet, and man to man. The horse-hair crests on their gleaming helmets touched one another as they nodded forward, so closely locked in battle were they; the spears they brandished in their strong hands were interlaced, and their hearts were set on battle.
The Trojans advanced in a dense body, with Hektor at their head pressing right on as a rock that comes thundering down the side of some mountain from whose brow the winter torrents have torn it; the foundations of the dull thing have been loosened by floods of rain, and as it bounds headlong on its way it sets the whole forest in an uproar; it swerves neither to right nor left till it reaches level ground, but then for all its fury it can go no further - even so easily did Hektor for a while seem as though he would career through the tents and ships of the Achaeans till he had reached the sea in his murderous course; but the closely serried battalions stayed him when he reached them, for the sons of the Achaeans thrust at him with swords and spears pointed at both ends, and drove him from them so that he staggered and gave ground; thereon he shouted to the Trojans, "Trojans, Lycians, and Dardanians, fighters in close combat, stand firm: the Achaeans have set themselves as a wall against me, but they will not check me for long; they will give ground before me if the mightiest of the gods, the thundering spouse of Hera, has indeed inspired my onset."
With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Deiphobos son of Priam went about among them intent on deeds of daring with his round shield before him, under cover of which he strode quickly forward. Meriones took aim at him with a spear, nor did he fail to hit the broad orb of ox-hide; but he was far from piercing it for the spear broke in two pieces long ere he could do so; moreover Deiphobos had seen it coming and had held his shield well away from him. Meriones drew back under cover of his comrades, angry alike at having failed to vanquish Deiphobos, and having broken his spear. He turned therefore towards the ships and tents to fetch a spear which he had left behind in his tent.
The others continued fighting, and the cry of battle rose up into the heavens. Teucer son of Telamon was the first to kill his man, to wit, the warrior Imbrios son of Mentor rich in horses. Until the Achaeans came he had lived in Pedaeum, and had married Medesikaste a bastard daughter of Priam; but on the arrival of the Danaan fleet he had gone back to Ilion
, and was a great man among the Trojans, dwelling near Priam himself, who gave him like honor with his own sons. The son of Telamon now struck him under the ear with a spear which he then drew back again, and Imbrios fell headlong as an ash-tree when it is felled on the crest of some high mountain beacon, and its delicate green foliage comes toppling down to the ground. Thus did he fall with his bronze-equipped armor ringing harshly round him, and Teucer sprang forward with intent to strip him of his armor; but as he was doing so, Hektor took aim at him with a spear. Teucer saw the spear coming and swerved aside, whereon it hit Amphimakhos, son of Kteatos son of Aktor, in the chest as he was coming into battle, and his armor rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground. Hektor sprang forward to take Amphimakhos' helmet from off his temples, and in a moment Ajax threw a spear at him, but did not wound him, for he was encased all over in his terrible armor; nevertheless the spear struck the boss of his shield with such force as to drive him back from the two corpses, which the Achaeans then drew off. Stichios and Menestheus, leaders of the Athenians, bore away Amphimakhos to the host of the Achaeans, while the two brave and impetuous Ajaxes did the like by Imbrios. As two lions snatch a goat from the hounds that have it in their fangs, and bear it through thick brushwood high above the ground in their jaws, thus did the Ajaxes bear aloft the body of Imbrios, and strip it of its armor. Then the son of Oileus severed the head from the neck in revenge for the death of Amphimakhos, and sent it whirling over the crowd as though it had been a ball, till fell in the dust at Hektor's feet.