With the first cast of his spear Patroelus missed Sarpedon, but slew his charioteer. Then did Sarpedon cast, and his spear whizzed past Patroclus, and smote the good horse Pedasus. With a dreadful scream Pedasus fell, kicking and struggling, in the dust. This way and that did the other two horses plunge and rear, until the yoke creaked and the reins became entangled. But the charioteer leaped down, with his sword slashed clear the traces from Pedasus, and the horses righted themselves.
Once again did Sarpedon cast his spear, and the point flew over the left shoulder of Patroclus. But Patroclus missed not. Through the heart of Sarpedon sped the fiercely hurled spear, and like a slim tree before the axe of the wood-cutter he fell, his dying hands clutching at the bloody dust.
Furious was the combat then over the body of Sarpedon. One brave warrior after another did Patroclus lay dead.
And more terrible still was the fight because in the ranks of the men of Troy there fought now, in all-devouring wrath, the god Apollo.
Nine men, good warriors all, did Patroclus slay; then, waxing bolder, he tried to climb the very walls of Troy.
Three times did Apollo thrust him back, and when, a fourth time, he attacked, the god cried aloud to him in anger, warning him not to dare so much.
Against Patroclus did Hector then drive his war-horses, but Patroclus, leaping from his chariot, hurled at Hector a jagged stone. In the eyes it smote the charioteer of Hector, and the slain man dropped to the ground.
“How nimble a man is this!” jeered Patroclus. “How lightly he diveth! Were this the sea, how good an oyster-seeker would this fellow be!”
Then from his chariot leaped Hector and met Patroclus, and the noise of the battle was as the noise of a mighty gale in the forest when great trees fall crashing to the ground.
When the sun went down, victory was with the Greeks. Three mighty charges did Patroclus make, and each time he slew nine men. But when, a fourth time, he charged, Apollo met him. In thick mist he met him, and Patroclus knew not that he fought with a god. With a fierce down-stroke from behind, Apollo smote his broad shoulders, and from off his head the helmet of Achilles fell with a clang, rattling under the hoofs of the horses. Before the smiting of the god, Patroclus stood stricken, stupid and amazed. Shattered in his hands was the spear of Achilles, and his mighty shield clanged on the ground.
Ere he could know who was the smiter, a Trojan ally drove a spear between his shoulders, and Patroclus, sore wounded, fell back.
Marking his dismay, Hector pressed forward, and clean through his body drove his bronze spear. With a crash Patroclus fell.
“Thou that didst boast that thou wouldst sack my town, here shall vultures devour thee!” cried Hector.
And in a faint voice Patroclus made answer: