Odysseus glared at him and answered, "Son of Atreus, what are you talking about? How can you say that we are slack? When the Achaeans are in full fight with the Trojans, you shall see, if you care to do so, that the father of Telemakhos will join battle with the foremost of them. You are talking idly."
When Agamemnon saw that Odysseus was angry, he smiled pleasantly at him and withdrew his words. "Odysseus," said he, "noble son of Laertes
, excellent in all good counsel, I have neither fault to find nor orders to give you, for I know your heart is right, and that you and I are of a mind. Enough; I will make you amends for what I have said, and if any ill has now been spoken may the gods bring it to nothing."
He then left them and went on to others. Presently he saw the son of Tydeus, noble Diomedes, standing by his chariot and horses, with Sthenelos the son of Kapaneus beside him; whereon he began to upbraid him. "Son of Tydeus," he said, "why stand you cowering here upon the brink of battle? Tydeus did not shrink thus, but was ever ahead of his men when leading them on against the foe - so, at least, say they that saw him in battle, for I never set eyes upon him myself. They say that there was no man like him. He came once to Mycenae
, not as an enemy but as a guest, in company with Polyneikes to recruit his forces, for they were levying war against the strong city of Thebes
, and prayed our people for a body of picked men to help them. The men of Mycenae
were willing to let them have one, but Zeus dissuaded them by showing them unfavorable omens [sêmata]. Tydeus, therefore, and Polyneikes went their way. When they had got as far the deep-meadowed and rush-grown banks of the Aesepos, the Achaeans sent Tydeus as their envoy, and he found the Cadmeans gathered in great numbers to a banquet in the house of Eteokles. Stranger though he was, he knew no fear on finding himself single-handed among so many, but challenged them to contests of all kinds, and in each one of them was at once victorious, so mightily did Athena help him. The Cadmeans were incensed at his success, and set a force of fifty youths with two leaders - the godlike hero Maion, son of Haimon, and Polyphontes, son of Autophonos - at their head, to lie in wait for him on his return journey; but Tydeus slew every man of them, save only Maion, whom he let go in obedience to heaven's omens. Such was Tydeus of Aetolia
. His son can talk more glibly, but he cannot fight as his father did."
Diomedes made no answer, for he was shamed by the rebuke of Agamemnon; but the son of Kapaneus took up his words and said, "Son of Atreus, tell no lies, for you can speak truth if you will.
We boast ourselves as even better men than our fathers; we took seven-gated Thebes
, though the wall was stronger and our men were fewer in number, for we trusted in the omens of the gods and in the help of Zeus, whereas they perished through their own sheer folly; hold not, then, our fathers in like honor [timê] with us."
Diomedes looked sternly at him and said, "Hold your peace, my friend, as I bid you. It is not amiss that Agamemnon should urge the Achaeans forward, for the glory will be his if we take the city, and his the grief [penthos] if we are vanquished. Therefore let us acquit ourselves with valor."
As he spoke he sprang from his chariot, and his armor rang so fiercely about his body that even a brave man might well have been scared to hear it.
As when some mighty wave that thunders on the beach when the west wind has lashed it into fury at sea [pontos]- it has reared its head afar and now comes crashing down on the shore; it bows its arching crest high over the jagged rocks and spews its salt foam in all directions - even so did the serried phalanxes of the Danaans march steadfastly to battle. The chiefs gave orders each to his own people, but the men said never a word; no man would think it, for huge as the host was, it seemed as though there was not a tongue among them, so silent were they in their obedience; and as they marched the armor about their bodies glistened in the sun. But the clamor of the Trojan ranks was as that of many thousand ewes that stand waiting to be milked in the yards of some rich flockmaster, and bleat incessantly in answer to the bleating of their lambs; for they had not one speech nor language, but their tongues were diverse, and they came from many different places. These were inspired of Ares, but the others by Athena - and with them came Panic, Rout, and Strife whose fury never tires, sister and friend of murderous Ares, who, from being at first but low in stature, grows till she uprears her head to heaven, though her feet are still on earth. She it was that went about among them and flung down discord to the waxing of sorrow with even hand between them.