Diomede and Ulysses, as spies, penetrate the camp of the Trojans by night, and first entrap and slay Dolon, who had set out on the same errand for the Trojans. Having obtained from him the desired information, they then attack the Thracians, and slay their king, Rhesus, while asleep. At the suggestion of Minerva, they then return to the camp.
The other chiefs, indeed, of all the Greeks were sleeping the whole night at the ships, overcome by soft slumber; but sweet sleep possessed not Agamemnon, the son of Atreus, shepherd of the people, revolving many things in his mind. As when the husband of fair-haired Juno thunders, preparing either an abundant, immense shower, or hail or snow, when the snow whitens the fields; or somewhere [preparing] the wide mouth 332 of bitter war; so frequently groaned Agamemnon in his breast from the bottom of his heart, and his mind was troubled within him. As often indeed as he looked towards the Trojan plain, he wondered at the many fires which were burning before Ilium, the sound of flutes and pipes, and the tumult of men. But when he looked towards the ships and army of the Greeks, he tore up many hairs from his head by the roots, 333 [enraged at] Jove who dwells aloft, and deeply he groaned in his noble heart. But this plan appeared best to him in his judgment; to repair first to Neleian Nestor, [and see] whether with him he might contrive some blameless counsel, which might be an averter of evil. Rising, therefore, he wrapped his coat around his breast, and beneath his smooth feet bound the beautiful sandals; next he threw around him the blood-stained skin of a huge, tawny 334 lion, stretching to his ankles, and grasped his spear. In like manner, a tremor possessed Menelaus, for neither did sleep rest upon his eyelids, [through fear] lest the Greeks should suffer aught, who on his account had come over the wide sea to Troy, waging daring war. First with a spotted leopard's skin he covered his broad back; and next, lifting his brazen helmet, placed it upon his head, and grasped a spear in his stout hand. But he went to awaken his brother, who had the chief command of all the Greeks, and was honoured by the people like a god. Him he found by the prow of his ship, putting his bright armour around his shoulders; and arriving, he was welcome to him. Him first Menelaus, valiant in the din of war, addressed: "Why arm thus, my respected brother? Or whom dost thou urge of thy companions to go as a spy amongst the Trojans? In truth I very much fear that no one will undertake this deed, going alone through the dead of night to reconnoitre the enemy. Any one [who does so] will be bold-hearted indeed."
Footnote 332: (return) Cicero pro Arch. § 5, "Totius belli ore ac faucibus."
Footnote 333: (return) Or "one after another." Schol.: ἐπ' ἀλλήλους, ἢ προῤῥίζους. See Merrick on Tryphiodor. 388; Alberti on Hesych. t. ii. p. 1029.
Footnote 334: (return) Or, "active, raging." The other interpretation is, however, favoured by Virg. Æn. ii. 721: "Fulvique insternor pelle leonis."
But him king Agamemnon, answering, addressed: "O Jove-nurtured Menelaus, need of prudent counsel [comes upon] both thee and me, which will protect and preserve the Greeks and their ships, since the mind of Jove is altered. Surely he has rather given his attention to the Hectorean sacrifices; for never have I beheld, nor heard a person who related, that one man has devised so many arduous deeds in one day as Hector, dear to Jove, hath performed upon the sons of the Greeks in such a manner, [although] the dear child neither of a goddess nor of a god. But such deeds hath he done as I conceive will long and for many a day be a cause of care to the Greeks; so many evils hath he wrought against the Greeks. But go now, call Ajax and Idomeneus, running quickly to their ships, but I will go to noble Nestor, and exhort him to arise, if he be willing to go to the sacred company 335 of guards and give orders; for to him will they most attentively listen, because his son commands the guards, along with Meriones, the armour-bearer of Idomeneus; for to them we intrusted the chief charge."
Footnote 335: (return) Some picked troop chosen for the especial purpose of keeping watch. Heyne compares Σ, 504: ἱερὸς κύκλος; Ω, 681: λαθὼν ἱεροὺς πυλαωρούς. Compare, also, the ἱερὸς λόχος of the Thebans, Plutarch, in Pelop. t. i. p. 285; E. Athen. xiii. p. 561.
But him Menelaus, valiant in the din of war, then answered: "In what manner dost thou command and exhort me in thy speech? Shall I remain there with them, waiting till thou come, or shall I run back again to thee, after I have duly given them orders?"
But him, in turn, Agamemnon, king of men, addressed: "Wait there, lest, as we come, we miss 336 one another; for there are many ways through the camp. But shout aloud whithersoever thou goest, and enjoin them to be watchful, accosting each man by a name from his paternal race, 337 honourably addressing all; nor be thou haughty in thy mind. Nay, let even us ourselves labour, whatever be our station, so heavy a calamity hath Jove laid upon us at our birth."
Thus saying, he dismissed his brother, having duly charged him. But he hastened to go to Nestor, the shepherd of the people. Him he found on his soft couch beside his tent and black ship, and by him lay his variegated arms, a shield, two spears, and a glittering helmet: beside him also lay a flexible belt, with which the old man girded himself, when he was arming for man-destroying war, leading on his people; since he by no means yielded to sad old age. Being supported on his elbow, 338 and lifting up his head, he addressed the son of Atreus, and questioned him in [these] words:
Footnote 336: (return) Buttmann, Lexil. p. 85, comes to the conclusion that "we must include ἀθροτάζειν among the forms of άμαρτάνω, whose etymological connections, as long as we are ignorant of them, we can easily do without."
Footnote 337: (return) Instances of this complimentary style of address occur in ver. 144. Διογενὲς Λαερτιάδη. 86: Νέστορ Νηληϊάδη.
Footnote 338: (return) Cf. Propert. 1. 3, 34. "Sic ait in molli fixa toro cubitum."
"Who art thou who comest thus alone by the ships, along the army, during the gloomy night, when other mortals are asleep? Whether seeking any of the guards, or any of thy companions? Speak, nor approach me in silence; of what is there need to thee?"
But him Agamemnon, king of men, then answered: "O Nestor, son of Neleus, great glory of the Greeks, thou wilt recognize Agamemnon, the son of Atreus, whom beyond all Jove hath plunged into toils continually, whilst breath remains in my breast, or my knees have the power of motion. I wander 339 thus, because sweet sleep sits not on mine eyes, but war and the calamities of the Greeks are my care. For I greatly fear for the Greeks, neither is my heart firm, but I am confounded. 340 My heart leaps without my breast, and my fair limbs tremble beneath. But if thou canst do aught (since neither doth sleep come upon thee), come, let us go down to the guards, that we may see whether, worn out by toil and [overpowered] 341 by sleep, they slumber, and are altogether forgetful of the watch. And hostile men are encamped near, nor do we at all know but that they perhaps meditate in their minds to engage even during the night." 342
But him Nestor, the Gerenian knight, then answered: "Agamemnon, most glorious son of Atreus, king of men, assuredly provident Jove will not accomplish to Hector all those devices, which now, perhaps, he expects; but I think that he will labour under even more cares if Achilles shall but turn away his heart from heavy wrath. Yet will I willingly follow thee; and let us moreover incite others, both spear-renowned Diomede, and Ulysses, swift Ajax, and the valiant son of Phyleus. But if any one going, would call godlike Ajax, and king Idomeneus; for their ships are the farthest off, 343 and by no means near at hand. But I will chide Menelaus, dear and respected though he be, nor will I conceal, even if thou shouldst be displeased with me, since thus he sleeps, and has permitted thee alone to labour. For now ought he to labour, supplicating among all the chiefs, for a necessity, no longer tolerable, invades us."
Footnote 339: (return) Æsch. Ag. 12: Εὐτ' ἂν δὲ νυκτίπλαγκτον ἔνδροσόν τ' ἔχω Ευνὴν ὀνείροις οὐκ ἐπισκοπουμένην Ἑμὴν, ϕόθος γὰρ ἀνθ' ὄπνου παραστατεῖ.
Footnote 340: (return) Cicero ad Attic, ix. 6: "Non angor, sed ardeo dolore; οὐδέ μοι ἦτορ ἔμπεδον, ἀλλ' ἀλαλύκτημαι. Non sum, inquam, mihi crede, mentis compos."
Footnote 341: (return) Observe the zeugma, which has been imitated by Hor. Od. III. 4, 11: "Ludo fatigatumque somno." Compare the learned dissertation on this subject by D'Orville on Chariton, iv. 4, p. 440, sqq. ed. Lips.
Footnote 342: (return) Æsch. Sept. c. Th. 28: Λέγει μεγίστην προσζολὴν Ἀχαΐδα Νυκτηγορεῖσθαι κἀπιθουλεύειν πόλει.
Footnote 343: (return) Soph. Aj. 3: Καὶ νῦν ἐπὶ sκηναῖϛ σε ναυτικαῖϛ ὁρῶ Αἴαντος, ἔνθα τάξιν ἐσχάτην ἔχει.
But him Agamemnon, king of men, in turn addressed: "Old man, at other times I would even bid thee blame him, for he is frequently remiss, and is not willing to labour, yielding neither to sloth, nor thoughtlessness of mind, but looking to me, and awaiting my commencement. But now he arose long before me, and stood beside me; him I have sent before to call those whom thou seekest. But let us go, and we shall find them before the gates among the guards; for there I bade them be assembled."
But him the Gerenian knight Nestor then answered: "If so, none of the Greeks will be angry, nor disobey when he may exhort or give orders to any."
Thus saying, he put on his tunic around his breast, and beneath his shining feet he placed the beautiful sandals, and fastened about him his purple cloak with a clasp, double, ample; 344 and the shaggy pile was thick upon it: and he seized a doughty spear, pointed with sharp brass. He proceeded first to the ships of the brazen-mailed Achæans; then the Gerenian knight Nestor, vociferating, aroused from his sleep Ulysses, equal to Jove in counsel. But the voice immediately penetrated his mind, and he came out from the tent, and addressed them:
"Why, I pray, wander ye thus alone through the ambrosial night, near the ships, through the army; what so great necessity now comes upon you?"
Footnote 344: (return) Schol.: Τὴν μεγάλην, ωστε καὶ διπλῇ αὐτή χρώμενον ἔχειν ἐκτεταμένην. The epithet φοινικόεσσα denotes that it was the garb of royalty.
But him Nestor, the Gerenian knight, then answered: "Jove-sprung son of Laertes, much-scheming Ulysses, be not indignant, for so great a sorrow hath oppressed the Greeks. But follow, that we may arouse even another, whomsoever it is fit, to deliberate whether to fly or fight."
Thus he spake, and much-counselling Ulysses returning into his tent, flung around his shoulders his variegated shield, and followed them. But they proceeded to Diomede, the son of Tydeus, and him they found without, before his tent, with his arms; and his companions slept around him. Beneath their heads they had their shields, and their spears were fixed erect upon the nether point; 345 and afar off glittered the brass, like the lightning of father Jove. The hero himself however slumbered, and beneath him was strewed the hide of a wild bull; but under his head was spread a splendid piece of tapestry. Standing by him, the Gerenian knight Nestor awoke him, moving him on the heel with his foot, 346 he roused him, and upbraided [him] openly:
"Arise, son of Tydeus, why dost thou indulge in sleep all night? Hearest thou not how the Trojans are encamped upon an eminence in the plain near the ships, and that now but a small space keeps them off?"
Footnote 345: (return) Σαυρωτῆροι' τοῖς στύραξιν τῶν οπίσω τῶν δοράτων. Hesychius, who also, with reference to the present passage, has Σαυρωτῆρος' τοῦ σιδηρίου. Pollux, x. 31, well explains it, τὸ τοῦ δόρατος ἰστάμενον It is also called στύραξ and στυρά.
Footnote 346: (return) Not "calce pedis movens." See Kennedy.
Thus he spoke: but he leaped up very quickly from slumber, and addressing him, spoke winged words:
"Indefatigable art thou, old man: never, indeed, dost thou cease from labour. Are there not even other younger sons of the Greeks, who, going about in every direction, might arouse each of the kings? But, O old man, thou art impossible to be wearied."
But him then the Gerenian knight Nestor in turn addressed: "Truly, my friend, thou hast spoken all these things aright. I have to be sure blameless sons, and I have numerous troops, some of whom indeed, going round, might give the summons. But a very great necessity hath oppressed the Greeks, and now are the affairs of all balanced on a razor's edge 347, whether there be most sad destruction to the Greeks, or life. Yet go now, since thou art younger, arouse swift Ajax, and the son of Phyleus, if thou hast pity on me."
Footnote 347: (return) Herodot. vii. 11: Επὶ ξυροῦ γὰp τῆς ἀκμῆς ἔχεται ἡμῖν τα πράγματα. Soph. Antig. 996: Φρόνει βεζὼς αὖ νῦν ἐπὶ ξυροῦ τύνη. Theocrit. xxii. 6: Ἀνθρώπων σωτῆρες ἐπὶ ξυοοῦ ἤδη ἐόντων.
Thus he spake; but the other threw around his shoulders the skin of a huge tawny lion, reaching to his feet, and took his spear. He hastened forth, and the hero, having aroused the rest, led them thence.
But when they now came to the assembled guards, they found not the leaders of the guards slumbering, but all were sitting vigilantly with their arms. As dogs with care keep watch around the sheep in a fold, hearing the furious wild beast, which comes through the wood from the mountains, but much clamour of men and dogs is against it, and sleep is utterly lost to them; so was sweet slumber lost to their eyelids, keeping guard during the sad night, for they were ever turned towards the plain, whensoever they heard the Trojans advancing. But the old man seeing them, rejoiced, and encouraged them with a speech, and addressing them, spoke winged words:
"Thus now, dear children, keep watch; nor let sleep seize upon any, lest we become a mockery to the enemy."
Thus saying, he crossed the trench; and with him followed the chiefs of the Greeks, as many as had been summoned to the council. Along with these went Meriones, and the illustrious son of Nestor; for they had invited them, that they might consult with them. Having therefore passed over the dug trench, they sat down in a clear space, where a piece of ground appeared free from fallen dead bodies, whence impetuous Hector had turned back, having destroyed the Greeks, when night at length enveloped them. There sitting down, they addressed words to each other, and to them the Gerenian knight Nestor began discourse:
"O friends, would not now some man put such confidence in his own daring mind as to go against the magnanimous Trojans, if perchance he might take some of the enemy straying in the outskirts of the camp, or perhaps even learn some report among the Trojans, what they deliberate among themselves; whether they intend to remain here by the ships at a distance, or are about to return to the city, since they have subdued the Greeks? Could he but hear all this, and come back to us unscathed, great glory would be his under heaven amongst all men, and he shall have a good reward. For as many chiefs as command the vessels, of all these each will give a black sheep, a ewe, having a lamb at its udders; to which indeed no possession will be like; and he will ever be present at our banquets and feasts."
Thus he spoke; and they were all mute in silence; but to them Diomede, valiant in the din of battle, said:
"Nestor, my heart and gallant spirit urge me to enter the camp of the hostile Trojans, which is near; but if some other man were to go along with me, there would be more pleasure, and it would be more encouraging. For when two go together, the one perceives before the other how the advantage may be. But if one being alone should observe anything, his perception is nevertheless more tardy, and his judgment weak."
Thus he spoke: and the greater number wished to follow Diomede. The two Ajaces wished it, servants of Mars; Meriones wished it; the son of Nestor very earnestly desired it; the spear-renowned son of Atreus, Menelaus, desired it; and hardy Ulysses was eager to penetrate the crowd of the Trojans; for ever daring was his mind within his breast. Among them, however, Agamemnon, the king of men, spoke:
"Diomede, son of Tydeus, most dear to my soul, select the companion whom thou desirest, the bravest of those who present themselves, since many are ready. Nor do thou, paying deference in thy mind, leave indeed the better, and select as follower the worse, through respect [for rank]; looking neither to family, nor whether one is more the king."
Thus he spake, for he feared for yellow-haired Menelaus; but amongst them Diomede, brave in the din of battle, again spoke:
"If then ye now order me to select a companion myself, how can I now forget godlike Ulysses, whose heart is prudent, and spirit gallant in all labours; and whom Pallas Minerva loves. He following, we should both return even from burning fire, for he is skilled in planning beyond [all others]."
But him much-enduring, noble Ulysses in turn addressed: "Son of Tydeus, neither praise me beyond measure, nor at all blame, for thou speakest these things amongst Argives, who are acquainted with them already. But let us go, for night hastens on, and morn is at hand. The stars have already far advanced, and the greater portion of the night, by two parts, has gone by, but the third portion remains."
Thus having spoken, they clad themselves in their terrible arms. To Diomede, Thrasymedes, firm in war, gave his two-edged sword, because his own was left at the ships, and a shield. Upon his head he placed his bull's-hide helmet, coneless, crestless, which is called cataityx, 348 and protects the heads of blooming youths. And Meriones gave a bow, quiver, and sword to Ulysses, and put upon his head a casque of hide; and within, it was firmly bound with many straps; whilst without, the white teeth of an ivory-tusked boar set thick together on all sides fenced it well, and skilfully; and in the midst a woollen head-piece 349 was sewed. It Autolycus once brought from Eleon, the city of Amyntor, son of Hormenus, having broken into his large mansion. He gave it, however, to Amphidamas, the Cytherian, to bear to Scandea, and Amphidamas bestowed it upon Molus, to be a gift of hospitality, but he gave it to his son Meriones to be worn. Then at last, being placed around, it covered the head of Ulysses. But they, when they had girt themselves in dreadful arms, hastened to advance, and left all the chiefs at the same place. And to them near the way, Pallas Minerva sent a heron upon the right hand: they did not discern it with their eyes, because of the gloomy night, but heard it rustling. And Ulysses was delighted on account of the bird, and prayed to Minerva:
"Hear me, thou daughter of ægis-bearing Jove, who standest by me in all labours, nor do I escape thy notice, having moved. 350 Now again do thou, O Minerva, especially befriend me, and grant that, covered with glory, we may return back to the well-benched barks, having performed a mighty deed, which will surely occasion care to the Trojans."
Footnote 348: (return) "The καταῖτυξ might be termed the undress helmet of the chief who wore it."--Kennedy.
Footnote 349: (return) Or, "it was stuffed with felt."--Oxford Transl. "Wool was inlaid between the straps, in order to protect the head, and make the helmet fit closer."--Kennedy.
Footnote 350: (return) Soph. Aj. 18: Καὶ νῦν ἐπέγνως εὖ μ ἐπ' ἀνδρὶ δυσμενεῖ Βάσιν ευκλοῦντ'.
Then Diomede, brave in the din of battle, next prayed: "Now hear me, too, O daughter of Jove, invincible. Attend me, as once thou didst attend my sire, the noble Tydeus, to Thebes, what time he went as an ambassador for the Achæans; he left the brazen-mailed Achæans at the Asopus, and he himself bore thither a mild message to the Cadmæans: but when returning he performed many arduous deeds, with thy aid, O noble goddess, when thou propitious didst stand beside him. Thus now willingly stand by and protect me; and in return I will sacrifice to thee a heifer of a year old, with broad forehead, untamed, which no man hath yet brought under the yoke. This will I sacrifice to thee, encircling its horns with gold."
Thus they spoke, praying; and Pallas Minerva heard them. But when they had supplicated the daughter of mighty Jove, they hastened to advance, like two lions, through the dark night, through slaughter, through bodies through arms, and black blood.
Nor did Hector allow the gallant Trojans to sleep; but he summoned all the chiefs together, as many as were leaders and rulers over the Trojans. Having summoned them together, he framed prudent counsel:
"Who, undertaking it for me, will accomplish this deed for a great reward? And there shall be sufficient payment for him; for I will give a chariot and two rough-maned steeds, which excel in speed at the swift sailing ships of the Greeks, to him whosoever would dare (he will also obtain glory for himself) to approach near the swift-sailing ships, and learn whether the fleet ships are guarded as formerly, or whether, now subdued by our hands, they meditate flight among themselves, nor wish to keep watch during the night, overcome with grievous toil."
Thus he spoke; but they were all still in silence. But among the Trojans there was one Dolon, the son of Eumedes, a divine herald, rich in gold, and wealthy in brass, who in aspect indeed was deformed, but [was] swift-footed, and he was an only [son] among five sisters. Who then, standing by, addressed the Trojans and Hector:
"Hector, my heart and gallant spirit urge me to approach the swift-sailing ships, and gain information. But come, raise up thy sceptre to me, and swear that thou wilt assuredly give me the horses and chariot, variegated with brass, which now bear the illustrious son of Peleus, and I will not be a vain spy to thee, nor frustrate thy expectation; for I will go so far into the camp till I reach the ship of Agamemnon, where the chiefs will perchance be consulting whether to fly or fight."
Thus he spoke; but he took the sceptre in his hand and swore to him: "Let Jove himself now be my witness, the loudly-thundering spouse of Juno, that no other man of the Trojans shall be carried by these horses: but I declare that thou shalt entirely have the glory of them."
Thus he spoke, and indeed swore a vain oath; 351 nevertheless he encouraged him. Immediately he threw around his shoulders his crooked bow, and put on above the hide of a grey wolf, with a casque of weasel-skin upon his head; and seized a sharp javelin. And he set out to go from the camp towards the ships: nor was he destined to bring back intelligence to Hector, returning from the ships. But when now he had quitted the crowd of horses and men, he eagerly held on his way. But him godlike Ulysses observed advancing, and addressed Diomede:
Footnote 351: (return) "There is no necessity for supposing that Hector meditated any deceit. The poet contemplates the event, which frustrated his hopes, and rendered his oath nugatory."--Kennedy.
"Hark! Diomede, a man comes from the camp; I know not whether as a spy upon our vessels, or to plunder some of the dead bodies. But let us suffer him first to pass by a little through the plain, and afterwards, hastily rushing upon him, let us take him. If, however, he surpasses us in speed, attacking him with the spear, let us continually drive him from the camp towards the ships, lest by chance he escape towards the city."
Then having thus spoken, they lay down out of the pathway among the dead; but he, in thoughtlessness, ran hastily past. But when now he was as far off as is the space ploughed at one effort 352 by mules (for they are preferable to oxen in drawing the well-made plough through the deep fallow), they indeed ran towards him; but he stood still, hearing a noise; for he hoped within his mind that his companions had come from the Trojans to turn him back, Hector having ordered. But when now they were distant a spear's cast, or even less, he perceived that they were enemies, and moved his active knees to fly; and they immediately hastened to follow. As when two rough-toothed hounds, skilled in the chase, ever incessantly pursue through the woody ground either a fawn or hare, whilst screaming it flies before; thus did Tydides and Ulysses, sacker of cities, pursue him ever steadily, having cut him off from his own people. But when now flying towards the ships, he would speedily have mingled with the watch, then indeed Minerva infused strength into Tydides, that none of the brazen-mailed Greeks might be beforehand in boasting that he had wounded him, but he himself come second; then gallant Diomede, rushing on him with his spear, addressed him:
"Either stop, or I will overtake thee with my spear; nor do I think that thou wilt long escape certain destruction from my hand."
Footnote 352: (return) See the Scholiast, and Kennedy's note.
He said, and hurled his spear, but intentionally missed the man. Over the right shoulder the point of the well-polished spear stuck in the ground. Then indeed he stood still, and trembled, stammering (and there arose a chattering of the teeth in his mouth), pale through fear. Panting they overtook him, and seized his hands; but he weeping, spoke thus:
"Take me alive, and I will ransom myself; for within [my house] I have brass, and gold, and well-wrought iron; from which my father will bestow upon you countless ransoms, if he shall hear that I am alive at the ships of the Greeks."
But him much-planning Ulysses answering addressed: "Take courage, nor suffer death at all to enter thy mind; but come, tell me this, and state it correctly: Why comest thou thus alone from the camp towards the fleet, through the gloomy night, when other mortals sleep? Whether that thou mightst plunder any of the dead bodies, or did Hector send thee forth to reconnoitre everything at the hollow ships? Or did thy mind urge thee on?"
But him Dolon then answered, and his limbs trembled under him: "Contrary to my wish, Hector hath brought me into great detriment, who promised that he would give me the solid-hoofed steeds of the illustrious son of Peleus, and his chariot adorned with brass. And he enjoined me, going through the dark and dangerous 353 night, to approach the enemy, and learn accurately whether the swift ships be guarded as before, or whether, already subdued by our hands, ye plan flight with yourselves, nor choose to keep watch during the night, overcome by severe toil."
Footnote 353: (return) Buttm. Lexil. p. 369: "I translate θοὴ νύξ by the quick and fearful night; and if this be once admitted as the established meaning of the Homeric epithet, it will certainly be always intelligible to the hearer and full of expression. 'Night,' says a German proverb, 'is no man's friend;' the dangers which threaten the nightly wanderer are formed into a quick, irritable, hostile goddess. Even the other deities are afraid of her, who is (Il. Θ, 259) θεῶν δμήτειρα καὶ ἀνδρῶν; and Jupiter himself, in the midst of his rage, refrains from doing what might be νυκτὶ θοὴ ἀποθύμια. Nor is the epithet less natural when the night is not personified: for as ὀξεῖς καιροί are dangerous times, so by this word θοή it may be intended to mark the swiftness and imminency of dangers which threaten men who go διὰ νύκτα μέλαιναν."
But him crafty Ulysses smiling addressed: "Assuredly thy mind aimed at mighty gifts, the horses of warlike Æacides; but these are difficult to be governed by mortal men, and to be driven by any other than Achilles, whom an immortal mother bore. But come, tell me this, and state correctly; where now, when coming hither, didst thou leave Hector, the shepherd of the people? Where lie his martial arms, and where his steeds? And how [stationed are] the watches and tents of the other Trojans? What do they consult among themselves? Do they meditate to remain there at a short distance from the ships, or will they return again to the city, since, forsooth, they have subdued the Greeks?"
But him Dolon, the son of Eumedes, again addressed: "Therefore will I indeed detail these things to thee very correctly. Hector, with those, as many as are counsellors, is deliberating upon plans at the tomb of divine Ilus, apart from the tumult: but for the watches of which thou inquirest, O Hero, no chosen [band] defends or watches the camp. But as many as are the hearths of fires among the Trojans, those at them are they to whom there is compulsion; 354 and they are both wakeful, and exhort one another to keep watch. But the allies, on the contrary, summoned from afar, are sleeping; for they commit it to the Trojans to keep watch, for their children and wives lie not near them."
Footnote 354: (return) Construe, κατὰ τόσας μὲν πυρὸς ἐσχάρας, ὅσαι ἰισὶ Τρώων, οἵδε οἶσιν ἀνάγκη ἐστὶν, ἐγρηγόρθασι, κ. τ. λ.
But him much-planning Ulysses answering addressed: "In what manner now do they sleep: mingled with the horse-breaking Trojans, or apart? Tell me, that I may know."
But him Dolon, the son of Eumedes, answered: "Therefore will I indeed detail these things also very correctly. On the one hand, towards the sea, [are] the Carians and Pœonians, armed with crooked bows, the Lelegans, and Cauconians, and noble Pelasgians. Towards Thymbra, on the other, the Lycians are allotted their place, and the haughty Mysians, the horse-breaking Phrygians, and the Mæonian cavalry 355 warriors. But why inquire ye of me these things separately? For if ye are now eager to penetrate the host of the Trojans, those Thracians lately arrived are apart, the last of all the others. And among them is their king Rhesus, son of Eioneus. And his horses are the most beautiful and largest I have seen. They are whiter than snow, and like to the winds in speed. And his chariot is well adorned with both gold and silver; and he himself came, wearing golden armour of mighty splendour, a marvel to behold; which does not indeed suit mortal men to wear, but the immortal gods. But now remove me to the swift ships, or, having bound me with a cruel bond, leave me here until ye return, and make trial of me, whether I have indeed spoken to you truly, or not."
Footnote 355: (return) I.e. charioteers.
But him then valiant Diomede sternly regarding, addressed: "Think not within thy mind to escape from me, O Dolon, although thou hast reported good tidings, since thou hast once come into my hands. For if indeed we shall now release thee, or set thee at liberty, hereafter thou wouldst surely return to the swift ships of the Achæans, either in order to become a spy, or to fight against us. But if, subdued by my hands, thou lose thy life, thou wilt not ever afterwards be a bane to the Greeks."
He said; and the other was preparing to supplicate him, taking him by the chin with his strong hand; but he, rushing at him with his sword, smote the middle of his neck, and cut through both the tendons; and the head of him, still muttering, was mingled with the dust. From his head they took the weasel-skin helmet, and the wolf skin, with the bent bow and long spear; and noble Ulysses raised them on high with his hand to Minerva, the goddess of plunder, and praying, spake:
"Rejoice, O goddess, in these, for thee, first of all the immortals in Olympus, do we invoke; but guide us likewise to the horses and tents of the Thracian men."
Thus he said; and raising them high above himself, he hung them on a tamarisk-branch. But beside it he placed a conspicuous mark, pulling up handfuls of reeds, 356 and the wide-spreading branches of the tamarisk, lest they should escape their notice whilst they were returning through the dark and dangerous night. Then both advanced onwards through arms and black blood; and proceeding, they came immediately to the band of the Thracian heroes. But they were sleeping, overpowered with fatigue; and their beautiful armour lay upon the ground beside them, carefully in order, in three rows: and by each of them [stood] a yoke of horses. Rhesus slept in the midst, and beside him his swift horses were fastened by the reins to the outer rim 357 of the chariot. And Ulysses first observing, pointed him out to Diomede:
"This [is] the man, O Diomede, and these [are] the horses, which Dolon, whom we slew, pointed out to us. But come now, exert thy mighty strength; nor does it at all become thee to stand leisurely with thy armour. Loose therefore the steeds, or do thou slay the men, and the horses shall be my care."
Footnote 356: (return) Συμμάρψας. Ernesti says: "Confregit leviter arundines, et addidit similiter confractis myricæ frondibus."
Footnote 357: (return) Ernesti regards ἐπιδιϕριάδος as an adjective, with ἄντυγος understood.
Thus he spoke; but into him azure-eyed Minerva breathed valour, and he slaughtered, turning himself on every side, and a dreadful groaning arose of those smitten with the sword; and the earth grew red with blood. As when a lion, coming upon unprotected flocks of goats or sheep, rushes upon them, designing evils, so fell the son of Tydeus upon the Thracian men, until he had slain twelve. But much-counselling Ulysses--whomsoever Diomede standing beside struck with the sword--him Ulysses dragged backwards, seizing by the foot; meditating these things in his mind, that the fair-maned steeds should pass through easily, nor should tremble in spirit, treading on the corses; for as yet they were unused to them. But when now the son of Tydeus had reached the king, him, the thirteenth, he deprived of sweet life, panting; for by the counsel of Minerva an evil dream had stood over his head during the night, [in likeness of] the son of Œneus: but in the meantime patient Ulysses was untying the solid-hoofed steeds. With the reins he bound them together and drove them from the crowd, lashing them with his bow, because he thought not of taking with his hands the splendid lash from the well-wrought chariot seat; and then he whistled as a signal to noble Diomede. But he remaining, was meditating what most daring deed he should do; whether seizing the car, where lay the embroidered armour, he should drag it out by the pole 358 or bear it away, raising it aloft; or take away the life of more of the Thracians. Whilst he was revolving these things within his mind, Minerva in the meantime standing near, addressed noble Diomede:
"Be mindful now of a return to the hollow ships, O son of magnanimous Tydeus, lest thou reach them, having been put to flight; or lest some other god perchance arouse the Trojans."
Footnote 358: (return) Understand κατὰ ῥυμοῦ.
Thus she spoke; and he understood the voice of the goddess speaking, and he quickly ascended the chariot. And Ulysses lashed on [the horses] with his bow, and they fled to the swift ships of the Greeks.
Nor did silver-bowed Apollo keep a vain watch. When he beheld Minerva accompanying the son of Tydeus, enraged with her, he descended into the vast army of the Trojans, and roused Hippocoön, a counsellor of the Thracians, the gallant cousin of Rhesus. And he, leaping up from sleep, when he beheld the place empty where the fleet horses had stood, and the men panting amidst the dreadful slaughter, immediately then wept aloud, and called upon his dear companion by name. A clamour and immeasurable tumult of the Trojans running together arose, and they looked with wonder at the marvellous deeds, which men having perpetrated, had returned to the hollow ships.
But when now they came where they had slain the spy of Hector, there Ulysses, dear to Jove, reined in his fleet steeds. But the son of Tydeus, leaping to the ground, placed the bloody spoils in the hands of Ulysses, and then ascended the chariot. And he lashed on the steeds, and both, not unwilling, fled towards the hollow ships, for thither it was agreeable to their minds [to go]. But Nestor first heard the sound, and said:
"O friends, leaders and rulers over the Greeks, shall I speak falsely, or say the truth? Still my mind impels me. The noise of swift-footed steeds strikes upon my ears. O that now Ulysses and gallant Diomede would immediately drive some solid-hoofed steeds from the Trojans! But greatly do I fear in mind lest these bravest of the Greeks suffer aught from the rude host of Trojans."
Not yet was the whole speech uttered, when they themselves arrived. Then indeed they descended to the ground, and [their friends] rejoicing, saluted them with the right hand and kind expressions. But [first] the Gerenian knight Nestor asked them:
"Come, tell me, most excellent Ulysses, great glory of the Greeks, how took ye these horses? [Whether] penetrating the camp of the Trojans; or did some god, meeting, supply you with them? They are very like unto the rays of the sun. I indeed always mingle with the Trojans, nor can I say that I remain at the ships, although being an old warrior: yet have I never beheld nor remarked such horses, but I think that some god, meeting you, hath given them. For cloud-compelling Jove loves you both, and the daughter of ægis-bearing Jove, azure-eyed Minerva."
But him crafty Ulysses answering addressed: "O Nestor, offspring of Neleus, great glory of the Greeks, a god indeed, if willing, could easily have given better horses even than these, since they (the gods) are much more powerful. But those steeds about which thou inquirest, old man, are Thracian, lately arrived, and valiant Diomede slew their lord, and beside him twelve companions, all of the bravest. The thirteenth, a spy, we killed, near the ships, whom Hector sent forth, and the other illustrious Trojans, to be a spy, forsooth, [of our army]."
Thus saying, he drove the solid-hoofed steeds across the ditch, exulting, and with him went the other Greeks rejoicing. But when they came to the well-constructed tent of Diomede, they tied the steeds by the skilfully-cut reins to the horses' stall, where stood the swift-footed steeds of Diomede, eating sweet corn. In the stern of his vessel Ulysses laid the bloody spoils of Dolon, until they could present them as a sacred gift to Minerva. Then having gone into the sea, they washed off the abundant sweat from around their legs, their neck, and thighs. But when the wave of the sea had washed away the abundant sweat from their bodies, and they were refreshed in their dear heart, entering the well-polished baths, they bathed. But having bathed and anointed themselves with rich oil, they sat down to a repast; and drawing forth sweet wine from a full bowl, they poured it out in libation to Minerva.