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Then in answer to him spake the king, Agamemnon: [370] “Aye verily once more, old sir, art thou pre-eminent in speech above the sons of the Achaeans. I would, O father Zeus and Athene and Apollo, that I had ten such counsellors; then would the city of king Priam forthwith bow her head, taken and laid waste beneath our hands. [375] But the son of Cronos, even Zeus that beareth the aegis, hath brought sorrows upon me, in that he casteth me into the midst of fruitless strifes and wranglings. For verily I and Achilles fought about a girl with violent words, and it was I that waxed wroth the first; but if e'er we shall be at one in counsel, [380] then shall there no more be any putting off of evil for the Trojans, no not for an instant. But for this present go ye to your meal, that we may join battle. Let every man whet well his spear and bestow well his shield, and let him well give to his swift-footed horses their food, and look well to his chariot on every side, and bethink him of fighting; [385] that the whole day through we may contend in hateful war. For of respite shall there intervene, no, not a whit, until night at its coming shall part the fury of warriors. Wet with sweat about the breast of many a man shall be the baldric of his sheltering shield, and about the spear shall his hand grow weary, [390] and wet with sweat shall a man's horse be, as he tugs at the polished car. But whomsoever I shall see minded to tarry apart from the fight beside the beaked ships, for him shall there be no hope thereafter to escape the dogs and birds.” So spake he, and the Argives shouted aloud as a wave against a high headland, [395] when the South Wind cometh and maketh it to swell—even against a jutting crag that is never left by the waves of all the winds that come from this side or from that. And they arose and hasted to scatter among the ships, and made fires in the huts, and took their meal. [400] And they made sacrifice one to one of the gods that are for ever, and one to another, with the prayer that they might escape from death and the toil of war. But Agamemnon, king of men, slew a fat bull of five years to the son of Cronos, supreme in might, and let call the elders, the chieftains of the Achaean host, [405] Nestor, first of all, and king Idomeneus, and thereafter the twain Aiantes and the son of Tydeus, and as the sixth Odysseus, the peer of Zeus in counsel. And unbidden came to him Menelaus, good at the war-cry,1 for he knew in his heart wherewith his brother was busied. [410] About the bull they stood and took up the barley grains, and in prayer lord Agamemnon spake among them, saying.“Zeus, most glorious, most great, lord of the dark clouds, that dwellest in the heaven, grant that the sun set not, neither darkness come upon us, until I have cast down in headlong ruin the hall of Priam, blackened with smoke, [415] and have burned with consuming fire the portals thereof, and cloven about the breast of Hector his tunic, rent with the bronze; and in throngs may his comrades round about him fall headlong in the dust, and bite the earth.”

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