So spake Hector, and stretched out his arms to take his boy.
But from his father’s bronze helmet with its fiercely nodding plume of horsehair the babe shrank back in terror and hid his face in his nurse’s breast. Then did the little City King’s father and his sweet mother laugh aloud, and on the ground Hector laid his helmet, and taking his little son in his arms he kissed him and gently dandled him. And as he did so, thus Hector prayed to Zeus and all the gods:
“O Zeus and all ye gods, grant that my son may be a brave warrior and a great king in Troyland. Let men say of him when he returns from battle, ‘Far greater is he than his father,’ and may he gladden his mother’s heart.”
Then did Hector lay his babe in Andromache’s arms, and she held him to her bosom, smiling through her tears.
Full of love and pity and tenderness was the heart of Hector, and gently he caressed her and said:
“Dear one, I pray thee be not of over-sorrowful heart. No man shall slay me ere the time appointed for my death hath come. Go home and busy thyself with loom and distaff and see to the work of thy maidens. But war is for us men, and of all those who dwell in Troyland, most of all for me.”
So spake Hector, and on his head again he placed his crested helmet. And his wife went home, many times looking back to watch him she loved going forth to battle, with her eyes half blinded by her tears.
Not far behind Hector followed Paris, his armor glittering like the sun, and with a laugh on the face that was more full of beauty than that of any other man on earth. Like a noble charger that has broken its bonds and gallops exultingly across the plain, so did Paris stride onward.
“I fear I have delayed thee,” he said to his brother when he overtook him.
“No man can speak lightly of thy courage,” answered Hector, “only thou hast brought shame on thyself by holding back from battle. But now let us go forward, and may the gods give the Greeks into our hands.”
So went Hector and Paris together into battle, and many a Greek fell before them on that day.
HOW PATROCLUS FOUGHT AND DIED
While round the dark ships of Greece the fierce fight raged, Achilles, from afar, listened unmoved to the din of battle, and watched with stony eyes the men of Greece as they fell and died on the reddened ground.
To him came Patroclus.
“Why dost thou weep, Patroclus?” asked Achilles. “Like a fond little maid art thou that runs by her mother’s side, plucking at her gown, hindering her as she walks, and with tearful eyes looking up at her until the mother lifts her in her arms. Like her, Patroclus, dost thou softly weep.”
Then Patroclus, heavily groaning, made answer:
“Among the ships lie the bravest and best of the men of Greece, sore wounded or dead. Pitiless art thou, Achilles, pitiless and unforgiving. Yet if thou dost still hold back from the battle, give me, I pray thee, thine armor, and send me forth in thy stead. Perchance the Trojans may take me for the mighty Achilles, and even now the victory be ours.”