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[595] Where are you going, away from the Trojan ranks, with sorrow gnawing at your hearts, because the god does not grant you two to slay Hector or Paris? Have you not heard that Rhesus has come to aid Troy in no mean fashion? [600] If he survives this night until the dawn, neither Achilles nor Aias's spear can stop him from utterly destroying the Argive fleet, razing its palisades and carrying this the onslaught of his lance far and wide within the gates. [605] Slay him, and all is yours; let Hector's sleep alone, no throat-cutting slaughter; for he shall find death at another hand.

Queen Athena, it is the well-known accent of your voice I hear; for you are always [610] at my side to help me in my toil. Tell us where that man lies asleep; in what part of the barbarian army is he stationed?

Here lies he close at hand, not marshalled with the other troops, but outside the ranks Hector has given him quarters, [615] till night gives place to day. And near him his white horses are tethered to his Thracian chariot, easy to see in the darkness; they shine like the plumage of a river swan. Slay their master and bear them off [620] home, glorious spoils; for nowhere else in all the world is such a team to be found.

Diomedes, either you slay the Thracian folk, or leave that to me, while your care must be the horses.

I will do the killing, and you master the horses. [625] For you are well versed in clever tricks, and have a ready wit. And it is right to station a man where he may best serve.

Look! there I see Paris coming towards us; perhaps he has heard from the guard a vague rumor that foes are near.

[630] Are others with him or does he come alone?

Alone; to Hector's couch he seems to wend his way, to announce to him that spies are in the camp.

Ought he not head the list of slain?

You can not overreach destiny. [635] It is not decreed that he should fall by your hand. But hasten on your mission of fore-ordained slaughter, while I, feigning to be Cypris, his ally, and to aid him in his efforts, will answer the foe with unsound words. [640] I tell you this; but the fated victim does not know, nor has he heard, for all he is so near.Exeunt Odysseus and Diomedes.

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