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The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

Page: 31

'Then the Greeks dashed up to where Hector lay, hoping to drag him amongst them. But his comrades placed their shields around him and drove back the warriors that were pressing round. They lifted Hector into his chariot, and his charioteer drove him from the place of battle groaning heavily from the hurt of that terrible blow.'

'Now the Greeks rallied and came on with a shout, driving the Trojans back before them. The swift horses under Hector's chariot brought him out on the plain. They who were with him lifted him out, and Hector lay gasping for breath and with black blood gushing from him. And then as he lay there stricken he heard the voice of a god—even of Apollo—saying, "Hector, son of Priam, why dost thou lie fainting, apart from the host? Dost thou not know that the battle is desperate? Take up thy spirit again. Bid thy charioteer drive thee towards the ships of the Greeks."'

'Then Hector rose and went amongst the ranks of his men and roused up their spirits and led them back to the wall. And when the Greeks saw Hector in fighting trim again, going up and down the ranks of his men, they were affrighted.'

'He mounted his chariot and he shouted to the others, and the Trojan charioteers lashed their horses and they came on like a great wave. They crossed the broken wall again and came near the ships. Then many of the Greeks got into their ships and struck at those who came near with long pikes.'

'And all around the ships companies of Greek warriors stood like rocks that the sea breaks against in vain. Nestor cried out to the Greeks, bidding them fight like heroes, or else lose in the burning ships all hope of return to their native land. Aias, a long pike in his hand, drove multitudes of Trojans back, while, in a loud voice, he put courage into the Greeks. Hector fought his way forward crying to the Trojans to bring fire to the ships that had come to their coast against the will of the gods,'

'He came to the first of the ships and laid his hand upon its stern. Many fought against him there. Swords and spears and armour fell on the ground, some from the hands, some off the shoulders of warring men, and the black earth was red with blood. But Hector was not driven away from the ship. And he shouted "Bring fire that we may burn the ships that have brought the enemy to our land. The woes we have suffered were because of the cowardice of the elders of the City—they would not let me bring my warriors here and bring battle down to the ships when first they came to our beach. Do not let us return to the City until we have burned the ships with fire."'


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