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So spake he, and a black cloud of grief enwrapped Achilles, and with both his hands he took the dark dust [25] and strewed it over his head and defiled his fair face, and on his fragrant tunic the black ashes fell. And himself in the dust lay outstretched, mighty in his mightiness, and with his own hands he tore and marred his hair. And the handmaidens, that Achilles and Patroclus had got them as booty, shrieked aloud in anguish of heart, [30] and ran forth around wise-hearted Achilles, and all beat their breasts with their hands, and the knees of each one were loosed be-neath her. And over against them Antilochus wailed and shed tears, holding the hands of Achilles, that in his noble heart was moaning mightily; for he feared lest he should cut his throat asunder with the knife. [35] Then terribly did Achilles groan aloud, and his queenly mother heard him as she sat in the depths of the sea beside the old man her father. Thereat she uttered a shrill cry, and the goddesses thronged about her, even all the daughters of Nereus that were in the deep of the sea. There were Glauce and Thaleia and Cymodoce, [40] Nesaea and Speio and Thoë and ox-eyed Halië, and Cymothoë and Actaeä and Limnoreia, and Melite and Iaera and Amphithoe and Agave, Doto and Proto and Pherousa and Dynamene, and Dexamene and Amphinone and Callianeira, [45] Doris and Pynope and glorious Galatea, Nemertes and Apseudes and Callianassa, and there were Clymene and Ianeira and Ianassa, Maera and Orithyia and fair-tressed Amatheia, and other Nereids that were in the deep of the sea. [50] With these the bright cave was filled, and they all alike beat their breasts, and Thetis was leader in their lamenting: “Listen, sister Nereids, that one and all ye may hear and know all the sorrows that are in my heart. Ah, woe is me unhappy, woe is me that bare to my sorrow the best of men, [55] for after I had borne a son peerless and stalwart, pre-eminent among warriors, and he shot up like a sapling; then when I had reared him as a tree in a rich orchard plot, I sent him forth in the beaked ships to Ilios to war with the Trojans; but never again shall I welcome him [60] back to his home, to the house of Peleus. And while yet he liveth, and beholdeth the light of the sun, he hath sorrow, neither can I anywise help him, though I go to him. Howbeit go I will, that I may behold my dear child, and hear what grief has come upon him while yet he abideth aloof from the war.”

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    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 11.250
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