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And in answer to him spake the horseman, Nestor of Gerenia:“Ah me, thou son of wise-hearted Tydeus, what a thing hast thou said! For though Hector shall call thee coward and weakling, yet will not the Trojans or the Dardanians hearken to him, [155] nor the wives of the great-souled Trojans, bearers of the shield, they whose lusty husbands thou hast hurled in the dust.” So spake he, and turned in flight his single-hooved horses, back through the tumult; and the Trojans and Hector with wondrous shouting poured forth upon them their missiles fraught with groanings. [160] Over him then shouted aloud great Hector of the flashing helm:“Son of Tydeus, above all others were the Danaans with swift steeds wont to honour thee with a seat of honour and meats and full cups, but now will they scorn thee; thou art, it appeareth, no better than a woman. Begone, cowardly puppet; since through no flinching of mine [165] shalt thou mount upon our walls, and carry away our women in thy ships; ere that will I deal thee thy doom.” So spake he, and the son of Tydeus was divided in counsel whether he should not wheel his horses and fight him face to face. Thrice he wavered in heart and soul [170] and thrice from the mountains of Ida Zeus the counsellor thundered, giving to the Trojans a sign and victory to turn the tide of battle. And Hector shouted aloud and called to the Trojans: “Ye Trojans and Lycians and Dardanians, that fight in close combat, be men, my friends, and bethink you of furious valour. [175] I perceive that of a ready heart the son of Cronos hath given unto me victory and great glory, and to the Danaans woe. Fools they are, that contrived forsooth these walls, weak and of none account; these shall not withhold our might, and our horses shall lightly leap over the digged ditch. [180] But when I be at length come amid the hollow ships, then see ye that consuming fire be not forgotten, that with fire I may burn the ships and furthermore slay the men, even the Argives beside their ships, distraught by reason of the smoke.” So saying he shouted to his horses, and said: “Xanthus, and thou Podargus, and Aethon, and goodly Lampus, [185] now pay me back your tending wherewith in abundance Andromache, daughter of great-hearted Eëtion, set before you honey-hearted wheat, and mingled wine for you to drink when your souls bade you, [190] sooner than for me, that avow me to be her stalwart husband. Nay, haste ye in pursuit, that we may take the shield of Nestor, the fame whereof now reacheth unto heaven, that it is all of gold, the rods alike and the shield itself; and may take moreover from the shoulders of horse-taming Diomedes [195] his breastplate richly-dight, which Hephaestus wrought with toil. Could we but take these twain, then might I hope to make the Achaeans this very night embark upon their swift ships.”

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