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THE ROUSING OF ACHILLES
 Fierce had been the fight before Patroclus
died. More fiercely yet it raged when he
From his body did Hector take the arms
of Achilles, and the dead Patroclus would
the Trojans fain have dragged to their city,
there to bring shame to him and to all the
But for him fought the Greeks, until the
earth was wet with blood and the very skies
echoed the clang of battle.
To Achilles came Antilochos, a messenger
fleet of foot.
'Fallen is Patroclus!' he cried, 'and around
his naked body do they fight, for his armour
is held by Hector.'
Then did Achilles moan aloud. On the
 ground he lay, and in his hair he poured
black ashes. And the sound of his terrible
lament was heard by his mother, Thetis, the
goddess, as she sat in her palace down under
the depths of the green sea.
Up from under the waves swiftly came she
to Achilles, and tenderly did she listen while
he poured forth to her the tale of the death
of his dear comrade.
Then said Thetis:
'Not long, methinks, shall Hector glory in
the armour that was thine, for Death presseth
hard upon him. Go not forth to battle, my
son, until I return, bearing with me new and
fair armour for thee.'
But when Thetis had departed, to Achilles
in his sorrow came Iris, fair messenger of
'Unto windy Ilios will the Trojans drag
the body of Patroclus unless thou comest
now. Thou needst not fight, Achilles, only
show thyself to the men of Troy, for sore is
the need of Patroclus thy friend.'
Then, all unarmed, did Achilles go forth,
and stood beside the trench. With a mighty
 voice he shouted, and at the sound of his
voice terror fell upon the Trojans.
Backward in flight they went, and from among
the dead did the Greeks draw the body
of Patroclus, and hot were the tears that
Achilles shed for the friend whom he had
sent forth to battle.
All that night, in the house of the
Immortals, resounded the clang of hammer on
anvil as Hephaistus, the lame god, fashioned
new arms for Achilles.
Bronze and silver and gold he threw in his
fire, and golden handmaidens helped their
master to wield the great bellows and to
send on the crucibles blasts that made the
ruddy flames dance.
No fairer shield was ever borne by man
than that which Hephaistus made for Achilles.
For him also he wrought a corslet brighter
than a flame of fire, and a helmet with a
And in the morning light did Thetis dart
down from snowy Olympus, bearing in her
arms the splendid gift of a god.
Glad was Achilles as he put on the armour,
 and terrible was his war-cry as he roused the
Greek warriors. No man, however sore his
wounds, held back when the voice of Achilles
called him to the fight once again. Wounded
was Agamemnon, overlord of the Greeks,
but forth also came he. And there, while
the sun rose on many a warrior who would
fight no more, did Achilles and Agamemnon
speak as friends once again, their long strife
Hungry for war, with Achilles as their
leader, did the Greeks then meet the Trojans
on the plain. And as a fierce fire rages
through the forest, its flames driven by the
wind, so did Achilles in his wrath drive
through the host of Troy.
Down to the Scamander he drove the
fleeing Trojans, and the water reddened with
blood, as he smote and spared not.
Merciless was Achilles; pitilessly did he
exult as one brave man after another was
sent by him to dye red the swift flood of the
At length, at his lack of mercy, did even
the river grow wrathful.
 'Choked is my stream with dead men!'
it cried, 'and still thou slayest!'
But when Achilles heeded not, in fierce
flood the river uprose against him, sweeping
the slain before it, and in furious spate
seeking to destroy Achilles. But as its
waves smote against his shield, Achilles
grasped a tall elm, and uprooting it, cast it
into the river to dam the torrent. For the
moment only was the angry river stayed.
In fear did Achilles flee across the plain, but
with a mighty roar it pursued him, and
To the gods then cried Achilles, and to
his aid came Athene, and close to the walls
of Troy again did Achilles chase the Trojan
From the city walls old Priam saw the
dreadful things Achilles wrought.
And when, his armour blazing like the
brightest stars of the sky, he drew near,
and Hector would have gone to meet him,
in grief did Priam cry to his dearly-loved
'Hector, beloved son, I pray thee go not
 alone to meet this man; mightier far than
thou is he.'
But all eager for the fight was Hector.
Of all the men of Troy he alone still stood
unafraid. Then did the mother of Hector
beseech him to hold back from what must
surely mean death. Yet Hector held not
back, but on his shining shield leaned
against a tower, awaiting the coming of the
And at last they met, face to face, spear
to spear. As a shooting-star in the dark-
ness so flashed the spear of Achilles as he
hurled it home to pierce the neck of Hector.
Gods and men had deserted Hector, and
alone before the walls of Troy he fell and
Thus ended the fight.
For twelve days did the Greek host
rejoice, and all through the days Hector's
body lay unburied. For at the heels of swift
horses had the Greeks dragged him to the
ships, while from the battlements his mother
and his wife Andromache watched, wailing
in agony, with hearts that broke.
 Then at length went old Priam to the
camp of the Greeks. And before Achilles he
fell, beseeching him to have mercy and to
give him back the body of his son.
So was the heart of Achilles moved, and
the body of Hector ransomed; and with
wailing of women did the people of Troy
welcome home their hero.
Over him lamented his old mother, for of
all her sons was he to her most dear, and
over him wept, with burning tears, his wife
And to his bier came Helen, and with
breaking heart did she sob forth her
'Dearest of my brothers,' she said, 'from
thee have I heard neither reproach nor evil
word. With kind words and gentle heart
hast thou ever stood by me. Lost, lost is
my one true friend. No more in Troyland
is any left to pity me.'
On lofty funeral pyre then laid they the
dead Hector, and when the flames had
consumed his body his comrades placed his
white bones in a golden urn, and over it
 with great stones did they raise a mighty
mound that all might see where he rested.
Yet still was the warfare between Greeks
and Trojans not ended.
To Achilles death came in a shaft from
the bow of Paris. By a poisoned arrow
driven at venture and at dark midnight from
the bow of an outcast leper was fair Paris
slain. While winter snow lay white on Ida,
in Helen's arms did his life ebb away.
Then came there a day when the Greeks
burned their camp and sailed homeward
across the grey water.
Behind them they left a mighty horse of
wood, and the men of Troy came and drew
it into the city as trophy and sign of victory
over those who had made it. But inside the
horse were hidden many of the bravest
warriors of Greece, and at night, when the
Trojans feasted, the Greeks came out of
their hiding-place and threw open the
And up from the sea came the Greek host,
and in fire and in blood fell the city of
 Yet did not Helen perish. Back to his
own kingdom by the sea Menelaus took
her, to reign, in peace, a queen, she who
had brought grief and death to so many,
and to the city of Troy unutterable woe.