Brave Menelaos son of Atreus now came to know that Patroklos had fallen, and made his way through the front ranks clad in full armor to bestride him. As a cow stands lowing over her first calf, even so did yellow-haired Menelaos bestride Patroklos. He held his round shield and his spear in front of him, resolute to kill any who should dare face him. But the son of Panthoos had also noted the body, and came up to Menelaos saying, "Menelaos, son of Atreus, draw back, leave the body, and let the bloodstained spoils be. I was first of the Trojans and their brave allies to drive my spear into Patroklos, let me, therefore, have my full glory [kleos] among the Trojans, or I will take aim and kill you."
To this Menelaos answered in great anger "By father Zeus, boasting is an ill thing. The pard is not more bold, nor the lion nor savage wild-boar, which is fiercest and most dauntless of all creatures, than are the proud sons of Panthoos. Yet Hyperenor did not see out the days of his youth when he made light of me and withstood me, deeming me the meanest warrior among the Danaans. His own feet never bore him back to gladden his wife and parents. Even so shall I make an end of you too, if you withstand me; get you back into the crowd and do not face me, or it shall be worse for you. Even a fool may be wise after the event."
Euphorbos would not listen, and said, "Now indeed, Menelaos, shall you pay for the death of my brother over whom you vaunted, and whose wife you widowed in her bridal chamber, while you brought grief [penthos] unspeakable on his parents. I shall comfort these poor people if I bring your head and armor and place them in the hands of Panthoos and noble Phrontis. The time is come when this matter shall be fought out in a struggle [ponos] and settled, for me or against me."
As he spoke he struck Menelaos full on the shield, but the spear did not go through, for the shield turned its point. Menelaos then took aim, praying to father Zeus as he did so; Euphorbos was drawing back, and Menelaos struck him about the roots of his throat, leaning his whole weight on the spear, so as to drive it home. The point went clean through his neck, and his armor rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground. His locks of hair, so deftly bound in bands of silver and gold, were all bedrabbled with flecks of blood, which looked like myrtle-blossoms [kharites]. As one who has grown a fine young olive tree in a clear space where there is abundance of water - the plant is full of promise, and though the winds beat upon it from every quarter it puts forth its white blossoms till the blasts of some fierce wind sweep down upon it and level it with the ground - even so did Menelaos strip the fair youth Euphorbos of his armor after he had slain him. Or as some fierce lion upon the mountains in the pride of his strength fastens on the finest heifer in a herd as it is feeding - first he breaks her neck with his strong jaws, and then gorges on her blood and entrails; dogs and shepherds raise a hue and cry against him, but they stand aloof and will not come close to him, for they are pale with fear - even so no one had the courage to face valiant Menelaos. The son of Atreus would have then carried off the armor of the son of Panthoos with ease, had not Phoebus Apollo been angry, and in the guise of Mentes chief of the Kikones incited Hektor to attack him. "Hektor," said he, "you are now going after the horses of the noble son of Aiakos, but you will not take them; they cannot be kept in hand and driven by mortal man, save only by Achilles, who is son to an immortal mother. Meanwhile Menelaos son of Atreus has bestridden the body of Patroklos and killed the noblest of the Trojans, Euphorbos son of Panthoos, so that he can fight no more."
The god then went back into the toil [ponos] and turmoil, but the soul of Hektor was darkened with a cloud of grief [akhos]; he looked along the ranks and saw Euphorbos lying on the ground with the blood still flowing from his wound, and Menelaos stripping him of his armor. On this he made his way to the front like a flame of fire, clad in his gleaming armor, and crying with a loud voice. When the son of Atreus heard him, he said to himself in his dismay, "Alas! what shall I do? I may not let the Trojans take the armor of Patroklos who has fallen fighting on my behalf, lest some Danaan who sees me should cry shame upon me. Still if for the sake of my honor [timê] I fight Hektor and the Trojans single-handed, they will prove too many for me, for Hektor is bringing them up in force. Why, however, should I thus hesitate? When a man, opposing the will of a daimôn, fights with one whom a god befriends, he will soon rue it. Let no Danaan think ill of me if I give place to Hektor, for the hand of heaven gives him honor [timê]. Yet, if I could find Ajax, the two of us would fight Hektor and any daimôn too, if we might only save the body of Patroklos for Achilles son of Peleus. This, of many evils, would be the least."
While he was thus in two minds, the Trojans came up to him with Hektor at their head; he therefore drew back and left the body, turning about like some bearded lion who is being chased by dogs and men from a stockyard with spears and hue and cry, whereon he is daunted and slinks sulkily off - even so did Menelaos son of Atreus turn and leave the body of Patroklos. When among the body of his men, he looked around for mighty Ajax son of Telamon, and presently saw him on the extreme left of the fight, cheering on his men and exhorting them to keep on fighting,
for Phoebus Apollo had spread a great panic among them. He ran up to him and said, "Ajax, my good friend, come with me at once to dead Patroklos, if so be that we may take the body to Achilles - as for his armor, Hektor already has it."
These words stirred the heart of Ajax, and he made his way among the front ranks, Menelaos going with him. Hektor had stripped Patroklos of his armor, and was dragging him away to cut off his head and take the body to fling before the dogs of Troy
. But Ajax came up with his shield like wall before him, on which Hektor withdrew under shelter of his men, and sprang on to his chariot, giving the armor over to the Trojans to take to the city, as a great glory [kleos] for himself; Ajax, therefore, covered the body of Patroklos with his broad shield and bestrode him; as a lion stands over his whelps if hunters have come upon him in a forest when he is with his little ones - in the pride and fierceness of his strength he draws his knit brows down till they cover his eyes - even so did Ajax bestride the body of Patroklos, and by his side stood Menelaos son of Atreus, nursing great sorrow [penthos] in his heart.