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[200] “Myrmidons, let no man, I bid you, be forgetful of the threats, wherewith heside the swift ships ye threatened the Trojans throughout all the time of my wrath, and upbraided me, each man of you, saying:“Cruel son of Peleus, surely it was on gall that thy mother reared thee, thou pitiless one, seeing that in their own despite thou holdest back thy comrades beside the ships. [205] Nay, homeward let us return again with our seafaring ships, since in this wise evil wrath hath fallen upom thy heart.” With such words would ye ofttimes gather together and prate at me, but now is set before you a great work of war, whereof in time past ye were enamoured. Therefore let it be with valiant heart that each man fights with the Trojans.” [210] So saying, he aroused the strength and spirit of every man, and yet closer were their ranks serried when they heard their king. And as when a man buildeth the wall of a high house with close-set stones, to avoid the might of the winds, even so close were arrayed their helms and bossed shields; [215] buckler pressed on buckler, helm upon helm, and man on man. The horse-hair crests on the bright helmet-ridges touched each other, as the men moved their heads, in such close array stood they one by another. And in the front of all two warriors arrayed themselves for war, even Patroclus and Automedon, both of one mind, [220] to war in the forefront of the Myrmidons. But Achilles went into his hut, and opened the lid of a chest, fair and richly-dight, that silver-footed Thetis had set on his ship for him to carry with him, whem she had filled it well with tunics, and cloaks to keep off the wind, and woollen rugs. [225] Therein had he a fair-fashioned cup, wherefrom neither was any other man wont to drink the flaming wine, nor was he wont to pour drink offerings to any other of the gods save only to father Zeus. This cup he then took from the chest and cleansed it first with sulphur, and thereafter washed it in fair streams of water; [230] and himself he washed his hands, and drew flaming wine. Then he made prayer, standing in the midst of the court, and poured forth the wine, looking up to heaven; and not unmarked was he of Zeus, that hurleth the thunderbolt:“Zeus, thou king, Dodonaean, Pelasgian, thou that dwellest afar, ruling over wintry Dodona,—and about thee dwell the Selli, [235] thine interpreters, men with unwashen feet that couch on the ground. Aforetime verily thou didst hear my word, when I prayed: me thou didst honour, and didst mightily smite the host of the Achaeans; even so now also fulfill thou for me this my desire. Myself verily will I abide in the gathering of the ships, [240] but my comrade am I sending forth amid the host of the Myrmidons to war: with him do thou send forth glory, O Zeus, whose voice is borne afar, and make bold the heart in his breast, to the end that Hector, too, may know whether even alone my squire hath skill to fight, or whether his hands [245] then only rage invincible, whenso I enter the turmoil of Ares. But when away from the ships he hath driven war and the din of war, thea all-unscathed let him come back to the swift ships with all his arms, and his comrades that fight in close combat.”

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