Then said Achilles in his great grief, "I would die here and now, in that I could not save my comrade. He has fallen far from home, and in his hour of need my hand was not there to help him. What is there for me? Return to my own land I shall not, and I have brought no saving neither to Patroklos nor to my other comrades of whom so many have been slain by mighty Hektor; I stay here by my ships a bootless burden upon the earth, I, who in fight have no peer among the Achaeans, though in council there are better than I.
Therefore, perish strife both from among gods and men, and anger, wherein even a righteous man will harden his heart - which rises up in the soul of a man like smoke, and the taste thereof is sweeter than drops of honey. Even so has Agamemnon angered me. And yet - so be it, for it is over; I will force my soul into subjection as I needs must; I will go; I will pursue Hektor who has slain him whom I loved so dearly, and will then abide my doom when it may please Zeus and the other gods to send it. Even Herakles, the best beloved of Zeus - even he could not escape the hand of death, but fate and Hera's fierce anger laid him low, as I too shall lie when I am dead if a like doom awaits me. Till then I will win fame [kleos], and will bid Trojan and Dardanian women wring tears from their tender cheeks with both their hands in the grievousness of their great sorrow; thus shall they know that he who has held aloof so long will hold aloof no longer. Hold me not back, therefore, in the love you bear me, for you shall not move me."
Then silver-footed Thetis answered, "My son, what you have said is true. It is well to save your comrades from destruction, but your armor is in the hands of the Trojans; Hektor bears it in triumph upon his own shoulders. Full well I know that his vaunt shall not be lasting, for his end is close at hand; go not, however, into the press of battle till you see me return hither; tomorrow at break of day I shall be here, and will bring you goodly armor from King Hephaistos."
On this she left her brave son, and as she turned away she said to the sea-nymphs her sisters, "Dive into the bosom of the sea and go to the house of the old sea-god my father. Tell him everything; as for me, I will go to the cunning workman Hephaistos on high Olympus
, and ask him to provide my son with a suit of splendid armor."
When she had so said, they dived forthwith beneath the waves, while silver-footed Thetis went her way that she might bring the armor for her son.
Thus, then, did her feet bear the goddess to Olympus
, and meanwhile the Achaeans were fleeing with loud cries before murderous Hektor till they reached the ships and the Hellespont
, and they could not draw the body of Ares' squire [therapôn] Patroklos out of reach of the weapons that were showered upon him, for Hektor son of Priam with his host and horsemen had again caught up to him like the flame of a fiery furnace; thrice did brave Hektor seize him by the feet, striving with might and main to draw him away and calling loudly on the Trojans, and thrice did the two Ajaxes, clothed in valor as with a garment, beat him from off the body; but all undaunted he would now charge into the thick of the fight, and now again he would stand still and cry aloud, but he would give no ground. As upland shepherds that cannot chase some famished lion from a carcass, even so could not the two Ajaxes scare Hektor son of Priam from the body of Patroklos.
And now he would even have dragged it off and have won imperishable glory, had not Iris fleet as the wind, winged her way as messenger from Olympus
to the son of Peleus and bidden him arm. She came secretly without the knowledge of Zeus and of the other gods, for Hera sent her, and when she had got close to him she said, "Up, son of Peleus, mightiest of all humankind; rescue Patroklos about whom this fearful fight is now raging by the ships. Men are killing one another, the Danaans in defense of the dead body, while the Trojans are trying to hale it away, and take it to windy Ilion
: Hektor is the most furious of them all; he is for cutting the head from the body and fixing it on the stakes of the wall. Up, then, and bide here no longer; shrink from the thought that Patroklos may become meat for the dogs of Troy
. Shame on you, should his body suffer any kind of outrage."
And Achilles said, "Iris, which of the gods was it that sent you to me?"