To his lords he told what had befallen him as they slept.
“Call to arms!” had been the message from Zeus. “Call to arms! for victory shall be thine.”
Then said the old warrior in whose likeness the Dream had come:
“My friends, had any other told us this dream we might deem it false; but to our overlord the Dream hath come. Let us then call our men to arms.”
So did all the lords follow his counsel, and quickly did the Greeks obey their summons. Like bees that pour from out their nests in some hollow rock, and fly to where the spring flowers grow most sweet, even so did the warriors pour forth from their ships and their huts by the sea. Loudly they shouted as they came, till all the earth echoed. Nine heralds sought to quiet them, but it was long before they would cease their noise, and sit silent to listen to the voice of Agamemnon their lord.
Then did Agamemnon prove his people. “Ill hath Zeus dealt with us, my friends,” he said. “To us he promised ere we sailed hither that victory should be ours. But nine years have passed away, and our ships’ timbers have rotted, and the rigging is worn. In our halls our wives and children still sit awaiting us, yet are we no nearer victory than we were on the day that we came hither. Come then, let us flee with our ships to our dear native land, for never shall Troy be ours.”
So spake Agamemnon, and stirred the hearts of all that had not heard his secret council.
As the high sea-waves are swayed by the winds that rush upon them from the east and from the south, even so the Greek host was swayed. And even as the west wind sweeps over a cornfield and all the ears bow down before the blast, so were the warriors stirred.
Shouting, they hastened down to their ships. And the dust rose up in clouds from under their hurrying feet.
Quickly did they prepare their ships, and gladly did they make them ready to sail homeward across the bright salt sea.
Then would the Greeks have returned, even though fate willed it not. But Hera spoke to Athene.
“Shall we indeed allow the Greeks thus to flee homeward?” she cried. “Shame it will be to us if Helen is left, in Troy, and Paris goes unpunished. Haste, then, and with thy gentle words hold back the men from setting forth in their ships for their own homeland.”
Down from the peaks of Olympus darted the bright-eyed Athene, clown to where the dark ships were being dragged to the launching ways.
By his ship stood Odysseus of the many devices, and heavy of heart was he.
As one who speaks aloud the thoughts of another, so then to Odysseus spake the fair goddess who was ever his guide.
“Will ye indeed fling yourselves upon your ships and flee homeward to your own land?” she said. “Will brave Odysseus leave Helen, for whose sake so many Greeks have died, to be the boast of the men of Troy? Hasten, then, and suffer not the Greeks to drag their ships down to the sea.”