<<<
>>>

The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

Page: 27

'So Diomedes spoke and the warriors applauded what he said, and they all poured out libations of wine to the gods, and thereafter they went to their huts and slept. But for Agamemnon, the King, there was no sleep that night. Before his eyes was the blaze of Hector's thousand watch-fires and in his ears were the sound of pipes and flutes that made war-music for the Trojan host encamped upon the plain.'


XIII

W

hen dawn came the King arrayed himself for the battle, putting on his great breast-plate and his helmet that had a high plume of horse-hair; fastening about his legs greaves fitted with ankle-clasps of silver; and hanging round his shoulders a great sword that shone with studs of gold—a sword that had a silver scabbard fitted with golden chains. Over his shoulders he cast a great lion's skin, and he took upon his arm a shield that covered the whole of a man. Next he took in his hands two strong spears of bronze, and so arrayed and so armed he was ready to take the foremost place in the battle.'

'He cried aloud and bade the Greeks arm themselves, and straightway they did so and poured from behind the wall that guarded their ships into the Trojan plain. Then the chiefs mounted their chariots, and their charioteers turned the horses towards the place of battle.'

'Now on the high ground before them the Trojans had gathered in their battalions and the figure of great Hector was plain to Agamemnon and his men. Like a star that now and then was hidden by a cloud, so he appeared as he went through the battalions, all covered with shining bronze. Spears and arrows fell upon both sides. Footmen kept slaying footmen and horsemen kept slaying horsemen with the sword, and the dust of the plain rose up, stirred by the thundering hooves of the horses. From dawn till morning and from morning till noon the battle raged, but at mid-day the Greeks broke through the Trojan lines. Then Agamemnon in his chariot rushed through a gap in the line. Two men did he instantly slay, and dashing onward he slew two warriors who were sons of King Priam. Like fire falling upon a wood and burning up the underwood went King Agamemnon through the Trojan ranks, and when he passed many strong-necked horses rattled empty chariots, leaving on the earth the slain warriors that had been in them. And through the press of men and up to the high walls of Troy did Agamemnon go, slaying Trojan warriors with his spear. Hector did not go nigh him, for the gods had warned Hector not to lead any onslaught until Agamemnon had turned back from battle.'

'But a Trojan warrior smote King Agamemnon on the mid-arm, below the elbow, and the point of his spear went clean through. Still he went through the ranks of the Trojans, slaying with spear and sword. And then the blood dried upon his wound and a sharp pain came upon him and he cried out, "O friends and captains! It is not possible for me to war for ever against the Trojans, but do you fight on to keep the battle from our ships." His charioteer turned his horses, and they, all covered with foam and grimed with dust, dashed back across the plain bearing the wounded King from that day's battle.'


<<<
>>>