“Not to thee do I owe my doom, great Hector. Twenty such as thou would I have fought and conquered, but the gods have slain me. Yet verily I tell thee that thou thyself hast not long to live. Even now doth Death stand beside thee!”
As he spoke, the shadow of Death fell upon Patroclus. No more in his ears roared the din of battle; still and silent for ever he lay.
THE ROUSING OF ACHILLES
Fierce had been the fight before Patroclus died. More fiercely yet it raged when he lay dead.
From his body did Hector take the arms of Achilles, and the dead Patroclus would the Trojans fain have dragged to their city, there to bring shame to him and to all the Greek host.
But for him fought the Greeks, until the earth was wet with blood and the very skies echoed the clang of battle.
To Achilles came Antilochos, a messenger fleet of foot.
“Fallen is Patroclus!” he cried, “and around his naked body do they fight, for his armor is held by Hector.”
Then did Achilles moan aloud. On the ground he lay, and in his hair he poured black ashes. And the sound of his terrible lament was heard by his mother, Thetis, the goddess, as she sat in her palace down under the depths of the green sea.
Up from under the waves swiftly came she to Achilles, and tenderly did she listen while he poured forth to her the tale of the death of his dear comrade.
Then said Thetis:
“Not long, methinks, shall Hector glory in the armor that was thine, for Death presseth hard upon him. Go not forth to battle, my son, until I return, bearing with me new and fair armor for thee.”
But when Thetis had departed, to Achilles in his sorrow came Iris, fair messenger of the gods.
“Unto windy Ilios will the Trojans drag the body of Patroclus unless thou comest now. Thou needst not fight, Achilles, only show thyself to the men of Troy, for sore is the need of Patroclus thy friend.”
Then, all unarmed, did Achilles go forth, and stood beside the trench. With a mighty voice he shouted, and at the sound of his voice terror fell upon the Trojans. Backward in flight they went, and from among the dead did the Greeks draw the body of Patroclus, and hot were the tears that Achilles shed for the friend whom he had sent forth to battle.
All that night, in the house of the Immortals, resounded the clang of hammer on anvil as Hephaistus, the lame god, fashioned new arms for Achilles.
Bronze and silver and gold he threw in his fire, and golden handmaidens helped their master to wield the great bellows, and to send on the crucibles blasts that made the ruddy flames dance.
No fairer shield was ever borne by man than that which Hephaistus made for Achilles. For him also he wrought a corslet brighter than a flame of fire, and a helmet with a golden crest.