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So these embarked and sailed over the watery ways; but the son of Atreus bade the people purify themselves. And they purified themselves, and cast the defilement into the sea, and offered to Apollo perfect hecatombs [315] of bulls and goats by the shore of the barren1 sea; and the savour thereof went up to heaven, eddying amid the smoke. Thus were they busied throughout the camp; but Agamemnon did not cease from the strife with which he had first threatened Achilles, but called to Talthybius and Eurybates, [320] who were his heralds and ready squires: “Go to the hut of Achilles, Peleus' son, and take by the hand the fair-cheeked Briseis, and lead her hither; and if he give her not, I will myself go with a larger company and take her; that will be even the worse for him.” [325] So saying he sent them forth, and laid upon them a stern command. Unwilling went the two along the shore of the barren sea, and came to the tents and the ships of the Myrmidons. Him they found sitting beside his tent and his black ship; and Achilles was not glad at sight of them. [330] The two, seized with dread and in awe of the king, stood, and spoke no word to him, nor made question; but he knew in his heart, and spoke: “Hail, heralds, messengers of Zeus and men, draw near. It is not you who are guilty in my sight, but Agamemnon, [335] who sent you forth for the sake of the girl, Briseis. But come, Patroclus, sprung from Zeus, bring forth the girl, and give her to them to lead away. However, let these two themselves be witnesses before the blessed gods and mortal men, and before him, that ruthless king, if hereafter [340] there shall be need of me to ward off shameful ruin from the host. Truly he rages with baneful mind, and knows not at all to look both before and after, that his Achaeans might wage war in safety beside their ships.”

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