“So have I suffered much for thee and toiled much, ever mindful of this that the gods would in no wise vouchsafe me a son born of mine own body. Nay. it was thou that I sought to make my son, O godlike Achilles,
to the end that thou mayest hereafter save me from shameful ruin. Wherefore Achilles, do thou master thy proud spirit; it beseemeth thee not to have a pitiless heart. Nay, even the very gods can bend, and theirs withal is more excellent worth and honour and might. Their hearts by incense and reverent vows
and libations and the savour of sacrifice do men turn from wrath with supplication, whenso any man transgresseth and doeth sin. For Prayers are the daughters of great Zeus, halting and wrinkled and of eyes askance,1
and they are ever mindful to follow in the steps of Sin.
Howbeit Sin is strong and fleet of foot, wherefore she far out-runneth them all, and goeth before them over the face of all the earth making men to fall, and Prayers follow after, seeking to heal the hurt. Now whoso revereth the daughters of Zeus when they draw nigh, him they greatly bless, and hear him, when he prayeth;
but if a man denieth them and stubbornly refuseth, then they go their way and make prayer to Zeus, son of Cronos, that Ate2
may follow after such a one to the end that he may fall and pay full atonement. Nay, Achilles, see thou too that reverence attend upon the daughters of Zeus, even such as bendeth the hearts of all men that are upright.
For if the son of Atreus were not offering thee gifts and telling of yet others hereafter, but were ever furiously wroth, I of a surety should not bid thee cast aside thine anger and bear aid to the Argives even in their sore need. But now he offereth thee many gifts forthwith, and promiseth thee more hereafter,
and hath sent forth warriors to beseech thee, choosing them that are best throughout the host of the Achaeans, and that to thine own self are dearest of the Argives; have not thou scorn of their words, neither of their coming hither; though till then no man could blame thee that thou wast wroth. Even in this manner have we heard the fame of men of old
that were warriors, whenso furious wrath came upon any; won might they be by gifts, and turned aside by pleadings. Myself I bear in mind this deed of old days and not of yesterday, how it was; and I will tell it among you that are all my friends. The Curetes on a time were fighting and the Aetolians staunch in battle
around the city of Calydon, and were slaying one another, the Aetolians defending lovely Calydon and the Curetes fain to waste it utterly in war. For upon their folk had Artemis of the golden throne sent a plague in wrath that Oeneus offered not to her the first-fruits of the harvest in his rich orchard land;
whereas the other gods feasted on hecatombs, and it was to the daughter of great Zeus alone that he offered not, whether haply he forgat, or marked it not; and he was greatly blinded in heart.