Page:The Iliad of Homer (Butler).djvu/184

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164
[ILIAD
DIOMED AND ULYSSES BATHE

meet you and give them to you? They are like sunbeams. I am well conversant with the Trojans, for old warrior though I am I never hold back by the ships, but I never yet saw or heard of such horses as these are. Surely some god must have met you and given them to you, for you are both of you dear to Jove, and to Jove's daughter Minerva."

554And Ulysses answered, "Nestor son of Neleus, honour to the Achæan name, heaven, if it so will, can give us even better horses than these, for the gods are far mightier than we are. These horses, however, about which you ask me, are freshly come from Thrace. Diomed killed their king with the twelve bravest of his companions. Hard by the ships we took a thirteenth[1] man—a scout whom Hector and the other Trojans had sent as a spy upon our ships."

564He laughed as he spoke and drove the horses over the ditch, while the other Achæans followed him gladly. When they reached the strongly built quarters of the son of Tydeus, they tied the horses with thongs of leather to the manger, where the steeds of Diomed stood eating their sweet corn, but Ulysses hung the blood-stained spoils of Dolon at the stern of his ship, that they might prepare a sacred offering to Minerva. As for themselves, they went into the sea and washed the sweat from their bodies, and from their necks and thighs. When the sea-water had taken all the sweat from off them, and had refreshed them, they went into the baths and washed themselves. After they had so done and had anointed themselves with oil, they sat down to table, and drawing from a full mixing-bowl, made a drink-offering of wine to Minerva.

  1. Homer seems to have forgotten that Dolon should have been the first man killed—and that even waiving this, he should be the fourteenth, not the thirteenth. Rhesus was the thirteenth (see p. 162). The greater a poet is the more certainly will he despise small accuracies.