HOW PATROCLUS FOUGHT AND DIED
 While round the dark ships of Greece the
fierce fight raged, Achilles, from afar, listened
unmoved to the din of battle, and watched
with stony eyes the men of Greece as they fell
and died on the reddened ground.
To him came Patroclus.
'Why dost thou weep, Patroclus?' asked
Achilles. 'Like a fond little maid art thou
that runs by her mother's side, plucking at
her gown, hindering her as she walks, and
with tearful eyes looking up at her until the
mother lifts her in her arms. Like her,
Patroclus, dost thou softly weep.'
Then Patroclus, heavily groaning, made answer:
'Among the ships lie the bravest and best
of the men of Greece, sore wounded or dead.
Pitiless art thou, Achilles, pitiless and
un-  forgiving. Yet if thou dost still hold back
from the battle, give me, I pray thee, thine
armour, and send me forth in thy stead.
Perchance the Trojans may take me for the
mighty Achilles, and even now the victory be
Then said Achilles, and heavy was his heart
'These Greeks took from me my well-won
prize, Patroclus. Yet let the past be past;
no man may keep his anger for ever. I have
said that until the men of Troy come to burn
my own ships I will hold me back from the
battle. But take you my armour; lead my
men in the fight, and drive from the ships the
men of Troy. But to others leave it to chase
them across the plain.'
Even as Achilles spoke, the strength of
mighty Ajax had come to an end, and with
furious rush did the Trojans board the ships.
In their hands they bore blazing torches, and
up to the sky rushed the fiercely roaring
Then cried Achilles, smiting his thighs:
'Haste thee, Patroclus! They burn the
 ships! Arm thyself speedily, and I will call
Corslet and shield and helmet did Patroclus
swiftly don, and girded on the silver-studded
sword and took two strong lances in his hand.
In the chariot of Achilles he mounted, and
Automedon, best and bravest of charioteers,
took the reins.
Swift as the wild west wind were Bayard
and Piebald, the two horses of Achilles, and
in the side harness was Pedasus, a horse only
less swift than they.
Gladly did the men of Achilles meet his call
to arms, for fierce as wolves were they.
'Many times hast thou blamed me,' cried
Achilles, 'because in my wrath I kept ye back
from battle. Here for ye now is a mighty
fight, such as ye love.'
To battle they went, and while Patroclus
led them forth, Achilles in his tent offered up
an offering to Zeus.
Like wasps that pour forth from their nests
by the wayside to sting the boys who have
stoned them, so now did the Greeks swarm
from their ships.
 Before the sword of Patroclus fell a mighty
warrior, and when the men of Troy saw the
shining armour of Achilles in his own chariot
their hearts sank within them.
Out of the ships were they driven, the fire
was quenched, and back to the trench rolled
the tide of battle. In the trench writhed
many a horse and many a man in dying
agonies. But clear across it leaped the
horses of Achilles, and close to the walls of
Troy did Patroclus drive brave Hector before
His chariot then he turned, and headed off
the fleeing Trojans, driving them down to
the ships. Before the furious rush of his
swift steeds, other horses were borne off
their feet, other chariots cast in ruins on
the ground, and men crushed to death
under his wheels. Chief after chief did
Patroclus slay. A mighty destroyer was he
One only of the chiefs of Troy kept his
courage before the destroyer who wore the
shining arms of Achilles.
'Shame on ye!' cried Sarpedon to his men.
 'whither do ye flee? I myself will fight this
man who deals death and destruction to the
From their chariots leaped Sarpedon and
With the first cast of his spear Patroclus
missed Sarpedon, but slew his charioteer.
Then did Sarpedon cast, and his spear
whizzed past Patroclus, and smote the good
horse Pedasus. With a dreadful scream
Pedasus fell, kicking and struggling, in the
dust. This way and that did the other two
horses plunge and rear, until the yoke
creaked and the reins became entangled.
But the charioteer leaped down, with his
sword slashed clear the traces from Pedasus,
and the horses righted themselves.
Once again did Sarpedon cast his spear,
and the point flew over the left shoulder
of Patroclus. But Patroclus missed not.
Through the heart of Sarpedon sped the
fiercely hurled spear, and like a slim tree
before the axe of the woodcutter he fell,
his dying hands clutching at the bloody
 Furious was the combat then over the body
of Sarpedon. One brave warrior after another
did Patroclus lay dead.
And more terrible still was the fight
because in the ranks of the men of Troy there
fought now, in all-devouring wrath, the god
Nine men, good warriors all, did Patroclus
slay; then, waxing bolder, he tried to climb
the very walls of Troy.
Three times did Apollo thrust him back,
and when, a fourth time, he attacked, the
god cried aloud to him in anger, warning him
not to dare so much.
Against Patroclus did Hector then drive
his war-horses, but Patroclus, leaping from
his chariot, hurled at Hector a jagged stone.
In the eyes it smote the charioteer of Hector,
and the slain man dropped to the ground.
'How nimble a man is this!'jeered
Patroclus. 'How lightly he diveth! Were this
the sea, how good an oyster-seeker would
this fellow be!'
Then from his chariot leaped Hector and
met Patroclus, and the noise of the battle
 was as the noise of a mighty gale in the
forest when great trees fall crashing to the
When the sun went down, victory was
with the Greeks. Three mighty charges
did Patroclus make, and each time he slew
nine men. But when, a fourth time, he
charged, Apollo met him. In thick mist he
met him, and Patroclus knew not that he
fought with a god. With a fierce down-stroke
from behind, Apollo smote his broad
shoulders, and from off his head the helmet
of Achilles fell with a clang, rattling under
the hoofs of the horses. Before the smiting
of the god, Patroclus stood stricken, stupid
and amazed. Shattered in his hands was
the spear of Achilles, and his mighty shield
clanged on the ground.
Ere he could know who was the smiter,
a Trojan ally drove a spear between his
shoulders, and Patroclus, sore wounded, fell
Marking his dismay, Hector pressed
forward, and clean through his body drove
his bronze spear. With a crash Patroclus fell
 'Thou that didst boast that thou wouldst
sack my town, here shall vultures devour
thee!' cried Hector.
And in a faint voice Patroclus made
'Not to thee do I owe my doom, great
Hector. Twenty such as thou would I
have fought and conquered, but the gods
have slain me. Yet verily I tell thee that
thou thyself hast not long to live. Even now
doth Death stand beside thee!'
As he spoke, the shadow of Death fell
upon Patroclus. No more in his ears roared
the din of battle; still and silent for ever he
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