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[115] So he said. And mighty Heracles was glad in heart and smiled, for the other's words pleased him well, and he answered him with winged words: “O hero Iolaus, heaven-sprung, now is rough battle hard at hand. [120] But, as you have shown your skill at other times, so now also wheel the great black-maned horse Arion about every way, and help me as you may be able.” So he said, and put upon his legs greaves of shining bronze, the splendid gift of Hephaestus. Next he fastened about his breast [125] a fine golden breast-plate, curiously wrought, which Pallas Athena the daughter of Zeus had given him when first he was about to set out upon his grievous labors. Over his shoulders the fierce warrior put the steel that saves men from doom, and across his breast [130] he slung behind him a hollow quiver. Within it were many chilling arrows, dealers of death which makes speech forgotten: in front they had death, and trickled with tears; their shafts were smooth and very long; and their butts were covered with feathers of a brown eagle. [135] And he took his strong spear, pointed with shining bronze, and on his valiant head set a well-made helm of adamant, cunningly wrought, which fitted closely on the temples; and that guarded the head of god-like Heracles. In his hands he took his shield, all glittering: no one ever [140] broke it with a blow or crushed it. And a wonder it was to see; for its whole orb shimmered with enamel and white ivory and electrum, and it glowed with shining gold; and there were zones of cyanus1drawn upon it. In the center was Fear worked in adamant, unspeakable, [145] staring backwards with eyes that glowed with fire. His mouth was full of teeth in a white row, fearful and daunting, and upon his grim brow hovered frightful Strife who arrays the throng of men: pitiless she, for she took away the mind and senses of poor wretches [150] who made war against the son of Zeus. Their souls passed beneath the earth and went down into the house of Hades; but their bones, when the skin is rotted about them, crumble away on the dark earth under parching Sirius.

1 Cyanus was a glass-paste of deep blue color: the “zones” were concentric bands in which were the scenes described by the poet. The figure of Fear (1.44) occupied the center of the shield, and Oceanus (1.314) enclosed the whole.

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