“ And earnestly the old horseman Oeneus besought him, standing upon the threshold of his high-roofed chamber, and shaking the jointed doors, in prayer to his son, and earnestly too did his sisters and his honoured mother beseech him
—but he denied them yet more—and earnestly his companions that were truest and dearest to him of all; yet not even so could they persuade the heart in his breast, until at the last his chamber was being hotly battered, and the Curetes were mounting upon the walls and firing the great city.
Then verily his fair-girdled wife besought Meleager with wailing, and told him all the woes that come on men whose city is taken; the men are slain and the city is wasted by fire, and their children and low-girdled women are led captive of strangers.
Then was his spirit stirred, as he heard the evil tale, and he went his way and did on his body his gleaming armour. Thus did he ward from the Aetolians the day of evil, yielding to his own spirit; and to him thereafter they paid not the gifts, many and gracious; yet even so did he ward from them evil.
But, friend, let me not see thee thus minded in heart, neither let heaven turn thee into this path; it were a harder task to save the ships already burning. Nay, come while yet gifts may be had; the Achaeans shall honour thee even as a god. But if without gifts thou enter into the battle, the bane of men,
thou shalt not then be in like honour, for all thou mayest ward off the battle.”
Then in answer to him spake Achilles, swift of foot:“Phoenix, old sire, my father, nurtured of Zeus, in no wise have I need of this honour: honoured have I been, I deem, by the apportionment of Zeus, which shall be mine amid the beaked ships so long as the breath
abideth in my breast and my knees are quick. And another thing will I tell thee, and do thou lay it to heart; seek not to confound my spirit by weeping and sorrowing, to do the pleasure of the warrior, son of Atreus; it beseemeth thee not to cherish him, lest thou be hated of me that cherish thee.
Well were it that with me thou shouldest vex him whosoever vexeth me. Be thou king even as I am, and share the half of my honour. Howbeit these shall bear my message, but abide thou here and lay thee down on a soft couch, and at break of day we will take counsel whether to return to our own or to tarry here.”