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BK. XI.]

alive. Hither, then, to the rescue of great Ajax son of Telamon."

592Even so did he cry when he was wounded; thereon the others came near, and gathered round him, holding their shields upwards from their shoulders so as to give him cover. Ajax then made towards them, and turned round to stand at bay as soon as he had reached his men.

596Thus then did they fight as it were a flaming fire. Meanwhile the mares of Neleus, all in a lather with sweat, were bearing Nestor out of the fight, and with him Machaon shepherd of his people. Achilles saw and took note, for he was standing on the stern of his ship watching the hard stress and struggle of the fight. He called from the ship to his comrade Patroclus, who heard him in the tent and came out looking like Mars himself—here indeed was the beginning of the ill that presently befell him. "Why," said he, "Achilles, do you call me? what do you want with me?" And Achilles answered, "Noble son of Menœtius, man after my own heart, I take it that I shall now have the Achæans praying at my knees, for they are in great straits; go, Patroclus, and ask Nestor who it is that he is bearing away wounded from the field; from his back I should say it was Machaon son of Æsculapius, but I could not see his face for the horses went by me at full speed."

616Patroclus did as his dear comrade had bidden him, and set off running by the ships and tents of the Achæans.

618When Nestor and Machaon had reached the tents of the son of Neleus, they dismounted, and an esquire, Eurymedon, took the horses from the chariot. The pair then stood in the breeze by the seaside to dry the sweat from their shirts, and when they had so done they came inside and took their seats. Fair Hecamedè, whom Nestor had had awarded to him from Tenedos when Achilles took it, mixed them a mess; she was daughter of wise Arsinöus, and the Achæans had given her to Nestor because he excelled all of them in counsel. First she set for them a