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He spake, and Achilles, famed for his spear, sprang from the bank and leapt into his midst; but the River rushed upon him with surging flood, and roused all his streams tumultuously, and swept along the many dead [235] that lay thick within his bed, slain by Achilles; these lie cast forth to the land, bellowing the while like a bull, and the living he saved under his fair streams, hiding them in eddies deep and wide. [240] In terrible wise about Achilles towered the tumultuous wave, and the stream as it beat upon his shield thrust him backward, nor might he avail to stand firm upon his feet. Then grasped he an elm, shapely and tall, but it fell uprooted and tore away all the bank, and stretched over the fair streams [245] with its thick branches, and dammed the River himself, falling all within him; but Achilles, springing forth from the eddy hasted to fly with swift feet over the plain, for he was seized with fear. Howbeit the great god ceased not, but rushed upon him with dark-crested wave, that he might stay [250] goodly Achilles from his labour, and ward off ruin from the Trojans. But the son of Peleus rushed back as far as a spear-cast with the swoop of a black eagle, the mighty hunter, that is alike the strongest and swiftest of winged things; like him he darted, and upon his breast [255] the bronze rang terribly, while he swerved from beneath the flood and fled ever onward, and the River followed after, flowing with a mighty roar. As when a man that guideth its flow leadeth from a dusky spring a stream of water amid his plants and garden-lots a mattock in his hands and cleareth away the dams from the channel— [260] and as it floweth all the pebbles beneath are swept along therewith, and it glideth swiftly onward with murmuring sound down a sloping place and outstrippeth even him that guideth it;—even thus did the flood of the River [265] ever overtake Achilles for all he was fleet of foot; for the gods are mightier than men. And oft as swift-footed, goodly Achilles strove to make stand against him and to learn if all the immortals that hold broad heaven were driving him in rout, so often would the great flood of the heaven-fed River beat upon his shoulders from above; and he would spring on high with his feet [270] in vexation of spirit, and the River was ever tiring his knees with its violent flow beneath, and was snatching away the ground from under his feet.

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