Thus spake the old man, and with his hands he plucked and tore the hoary hairs from his head; but he could not persuade the heart of Hector. And over against him the mother in her turn wailed and shed tears,
loosening the folds of her robe, while with the other hand she showed her breast, and amid shedding of tears she spake unto him winged words: “Hector, my child, have thou respect unto this and pity me, if ever I gave thee the breast to lull thy pain. Think thereon, dear child, and ward off yon foemen
from within the wall, neither stand thou forth to face him. Cruel is he; for if so be he shay thee, never shall I lay thee on a bier and bewail thee, dear plant, born of mine own self, nay, nor shall thy bounteous wife; but far away from us by the ships of the Argives shall swift dogs devour thee.”
So the twain with weeping spake unto their dear son, beseeching him instantly; howbeit they could not persuade the heart of Hector, but he abode Achilles as he drew nigh in his mightiness. And as a serpent of the mountain awaiteth a man at his lair, having fed upon evil herbs, and dread wrath hath entered into him,
and terribly he glareth as he coileth him about within his lair; even so Hector in his courage unquenchable would not give ground, leaning his bright shield against the jutting wall. Then, mightily moved, he spake unto his own great-hearted spirit: “Ah, woe is me, if I go within the gates and the walls
Polydamas will be the first to put reproach upon me, for that he bade me lead the Trojans to the city during this fatal night, when goodly Achilles arose. Howbeit I hearkened not—verily it had been better far! But now, seeing I have brought the host to ruin in my blind folly,
I have shame of the Trojans, and the Trojans' wives with trailing robes, lest haply some other baser man may say: ‘Hector, trusting in his own might, brought ruin on the host.’ So will they say; but for me it were better far to meet Achilles man to man and shay him, and so get me home,
or myself perish gloriously before the city.