Thus then did they fight as it were a flaming fire. Meanwhile the fleet runner Antilokhos, who had been sent as messenger, reached Achilles, and found him sitting by his tall ships and boding that which was indeed too surely true. "Alas," said he to himself in the heaviness of his heart, "why are the Achaeans again scouring the plain and flocking towards the ships? Heaven grant the gods be not now bringing that sorrow upon me of which my mother Thetis spoke, saying that while I was yet alive the bravest of the Myrmidons should fall before the Trojans, and see the light of the sun no longer. I fear the brave son of Menoitios has fallen through his own daring and yet I bade him return to the ships as soon as he had driven back those that were bringing fire against them, and not join battle with Hektor."
As he was thus pondering, the son of Nestor came up to him and told his sad tale, weeping bitterly the while. "Alas," he cried, "son of noble Peleus, I bring you bad tidings, would indeed that they were untrue. Patroklos has fallen, and a fight is raging about his naked body - for Hektor holds his armor."
A dark cloud of grief [akhos] fell upon Achilles as he listened. He filled both hands with dust from off the ground, and poured it over his head, disfiguring his comely face, and letting the refuse settle over his shirt so fair and new. He flung himself down all huge and hugely at full length, and tore his hair with his hands.
The bondswomen whom Achilles and Patroklos had taken captive screamed aloud for grief, beating their breasts, and with their limbs failing them for sorrow. Antilokhos bent over him the while, weeping and holding both his hands as he lay groaning for he feared that he might plunge a knife into his own throat. Then Achilles gave a loud cry and his mother heard him as she was sitting in the depths of the sea by the old man her father, whereon she screamed, and all the goddesses daughters of Nereus that dwelt at the bottom of the sea, came gathering round her. There were Glauke, Thalia and Kymodoke, Nesaia, Speo, Thoe, and dark-eyed Halie, Kymothoe, Aktaia and Limnorea, Melite, Iaira, Amphithoe and Agaue, Doto and Proto, Pherousa and Dynamene, Dexamene, Amphinome and Kallianeira, Doris, Panope, and the famous sea-nymph Galatea, Nemertes, Apseudes and Kallianassa. There were also Klymene, Ianeira and Ianassa, Maira
, Oreithuia and Amatheia of the lovely locks, with other Nereids who dwell in the depths of the sea. The crystal cave was filled with their multitude and they all beat their breasts while Thetis led them in their lament.
"Listen," she cried, "sisters, daughters of Nereus, that you may hear the burden of my sorrows. Alas, woe is me, woe in that I have borne the most glorious of offspring. I bore him fair and strong, hero among heroes, and he shot up as a sapling; I tended him as a plant in a goodly garden, and sent him with his ships to Ilion
to fight the Trojans, but never shall I welcome him back to the house of Peleus. So long as he lives to look upon the light of the sun he is in heaviness, and though I go to him I cannot help him. Nevertheless I will go, that I may see my dear son and learn what sorrow [penthos] has befallen him though he is still holding aloof from battle."
She left the cave as she spoke, while the others followed weeping after, and the waves opened a path before them. When they reached the fertile plain of Troy
, they came up out of the sea in a long line on to the sands, at the place where the ships of the Myrmidons were drawn up in close order round the tents of Achilles. His mother went up to him as he lay groaning; she laid her hand upon his head and spoke piteously, saying, "My son, why are you thus weeping? What sorrow [penthos] has now befallen you? Tell me; hide it not from me. Surely Zeus has granted you the prayer you made him, when you lifted up your hands and besought him that the Achaeans might all of them be pent up at their ships, and rue it bitterly in that you were no longer with them."
Achilles groaned and answered, "Mother, Olympian Zeus has indeed granted me the fulfillment of my prayer, but what boots it to me, seeing that my dear comrade Patroklos has fallen - he whom I valued more than all others, and loved as dearly as my own life? I have lost him; aye, and Hektor when he had killed him stripped the wondrous armor, so glorious to behold, which the gods gave to Peleus when they laid you in the couch of a mortal man. Would that you were still dwelling among the immortal sea-nymphs, and that Peleus had taken to himself some mortal bride. For now you shall have grief [penthos] infinite by reason of the death of that son whom you can never welcome home- nay, I will not live nor go about among humankind unless Hektor fall by my spear, and thus pay me for having slain Patroklos son of Menoitios."
Thetis wept and answered, "Then, my son, is your end near at hand- for your own death awaits you full soon after that of Hektor."