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So spake he, and they undid the gates and thrust back the bars; and the gates being flung wide wrought deliverance. But Apollo leapt forth to face Achilles, that so he might ward off ruin from the Trojans. [540] And they, the while, were fleeing straight for the city and the high wall, parched with thirst, and begrimed with dust from the plain, while Achilles pressed upon them furiously with his spear; for fierce madness ever possessed his heart, and he was eager to win him glory. Then would the sons of the Achaeans have taken high-gated Troy, [545] had not Phoebus Apollo aroused goodly Agenor, Antenor's son, a peerless warrior and a stalwart. In his heart he put courage, and himself stood by his side, that he might ward from him the heavy hands of death; against the oak1 he leaned, and he was enfolded in deep mist. [550] So when Agenor was ware of Achilles, sacker of cities, he halted, and many things did his heart darkly ponder as he abode; and mightily moved he spake unto his own great-hearted spirit: “Ah, woe is me; if I flee before mighty Achilles, there where the rest are being driven in rout, [555] even so shall he overtake and butcher me in my cowardice. But what if I leave these to be driven before Achilles, son of Peleus, and with my feet flee from the wall elsewhither, toward the Ilean plain, until I be come to the glens and the spurs of Ida, and hide me in the thickets? [560] Then at even, when I have bathed me in the river and cooled me of my sweat, I might get me back to Ilios. But why doth my heart thus hold converse with me? Let it not be that he mark me as I turn away from the city toward the plain, and darting after me overtake me by his fleetness of foot. [565] Then will it no more be possible to escape death and the fates, for exceeding mighty is he above all mortal men. What then if in front of the city I go forth to meet him? Even his flesh too, I ween, may be pierced with the sharp bronze, and in him is but one life, and mortal do men deem him [570] to be; howbeit Zeus, son of Cronos, giveth him glory.”

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 11.407
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 21.552
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