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But the Trojans, like ravening lions, rushed upon the ships and were fulfilling the behests of Zeus, who ever roused great might in them, but made the hearts [595] of the Argives to melt, and took away their glory, while he spurred on the others. For his heart was set on giving glory to Hector, son of Priam, to the end that he might cast upon the beaked ships unwearied, wondrous-blazing fire, and so fulfill to the uttermost the presumptuous prayer of Thetis. Even for this was Zeus the counsellor waiting, [600] that his eyes might behold the glare of a burning ship; for from that time forth was he to ordain a driving-back of the Trojans from the ships, and to grant glory to the Danaans. With this intent he was rousing against the hollow ships Hector son of Priam, that was himself full eager. [605] And he was raging like Ares, wielder of the spear, or as when consuming fire rageth among the mountains in the thickets of a deep wood; and foam came forth about his mouth, and his two eyes blazed beneath his dreadful brows, and round about his temples terribly shook the helm of Hector as he fought; [610] for Zeus out of heaven was himself his defender, and vouchsafed him honour and glory, alone as he was amid so many warriors. For brief was his span of life to be, since even now Pallas Athene was hastening on the day of his doom beneath the might of the son of Peleus. [615] But fain was he to break the ranks of men, making trial of them wheresoever he saw the greatest throng and the goodliest arms. Yet not even so did he avail to break them, for all he was so eager; for they abode firm-fixed as it were a wall, like a crag, sheer and great, hard by the grey sea, [620] that abideth the swift paths of the shrill winds, and the swelling waves that belch forth against it; even so the Danaans withstood the Trojans steadfastly, and fled not. But Hector shining all about as with fire leapt among the throng, and fell upon them; even as when beneath the clouds a fierce-rushing wave, [625] swollen by the winds, falleth upon a swift ship, and she is all hidden by the foam thereof, and the dread blast of the wind roareth against the sail, and the hearts of the sailors shudder in their fear, for that by little are they borne forth from death; even so were the hearts of the Achaeans rent within their breasts. [630] But he fell upon them like a lion of baneful mind coming against kine, that are grazing in the bottom-land of a great marsh, and there is no counting them, and among them is a herdsman that is as yet unskilled to fight with a wild beast over the carcase of a sleek heifer that hath been slain: he verily walketh ever by their side, now abreast of the foremost of the kine, and now of the hindmost, [635] but the lion leapeth upon the midmost, and devoureth a heifer, and thereat they all flee in terror; even so in wondrous wise were the Achaeans one and all then driven in wondrous rout by Hector and father Zeus, albeit Hector slew one only man, Periphetes of Mycenae, the dear son of Copreus, that had been wont to go on messages from king Eurystheus [640] to the mighty Heracles. Of him, a father baser by far, was begotten a son goodlier in all manner of excellence, both in fleetness of foot and in fight, and in mind he was among the first of the men of Mycenae; he it was who then yielded to Hector the glory of victory. [645] For, as he turned back, he tripped upon the rim of the shield that himself bare, a shield that reached to the feet, a defence against javelins: thereon he stumbled and fell backward, and about his temples his helm rang wondrously as he fell. And Hector was quick to mark it, and ran, and stood close beside him, [650] and fixed his spear in his breast, and slew him hard by his dear comrades; and they availed not to aid him, albeit they sorrowed for their comrade; for themselves were sore adread of goodly Hector.

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