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Then in sorry wise would the Trojans have given ground from the ships and huts unto windy Ilios, [725] had not Polydamas drawn nigh to bold Hector, and said: “Hector, hard to deal with art thou, that thou shouldest hearken to words of persuasion. Forasmuch as god has given to thee as to none other works of war, therefore in counsel too art thou minded to have wisdom beyond all; but in no wise shalt thou be able of thine own self to compass all things. [730] To one man hath God given works of war, to another the dance, to another the lyre and song, and in the breast of another Zeus, whose voice is borne afar, putteth a mind of understanding, wherefrom many men get profit, and many he saveth; but he knoweth it best himself. [735] So will I speak what seemeth to me to be best. Behold all about thee blazeth a circle of war, and the great-souled Trojans, now that they have passed over the wall, are some of them standing aloof with their arms, and others are fighting, fewer men against more, scattered among the ships. [740] Nay, fall thou back, and call hither all the bravest. Then shall we consider all manner of counsel, whether we shall fall upon the many-benched ships, if so be the god willeth to give us victory, or thereafter shall return unscathed back from the ships. Verily, for myself, [745] I fear lest the Achaeans shall pay back the debt of yesterday, seeing there abideth by the ships a man insatiate of war, who no longer, methinks, will hold him utterly aloof from battle.” So spake Polydamas, and his prudent counsel was well pleasing unto Hector, and forthwith he leapt in his armour from his chariot to the ground; [750] and he spake and addressed him with winged words: “Polydamas, do thou hold back here all the bravest, but I will go thither and confront the war, and quickly will I come again, when to the full I have laid on them my charge.”

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