’Then the council broke up and Achilles with Patroklos, his dear comrade, went back to their tent. A ship was launched and the maiden Chryseis was put aboard and Odysseus was placed in command. The ship set out for Chryse. There on the beach they found the priest of Apollo, and Odysseus placed his daughter in the old man’s arms. They made sacrifice to Apollo, and thereafter the plague was averted from the host.
‘But to Achilles’ tent there came the messengers of the King, and they took Briseis of the Fair Cheeks and led her away. Achilles, in bitter anger, sat by the sea, hard in his resolve not to help Agamemnon’s men, no matter what defeat great Hector inflicted upon them.’
Such was the quarrel, dear son, between Agamemnon, King of men, and great Achilles. Ah, because of that quarrel many brave men and great captains whom I remember went down to their deaths!’
’But Agamemnon before long relented and he sent three envoys to make friendship between himself and Achilles. The envoys were Odysseus and Aias and the old man Phoinix who had been a foster-father to Achilles. Now when these three went into his hut they found Achilles sitting with a lyre in his hands, singing to the music he made. His song was of what Thetis, his goddess-mother, had told him concerning his own fate—how, if he remained in the war against Troy, he should win for himself imperishable renown but would soon lose his life, and how, if he left the war, his years in his own land should be long, although no great renown would be his. Patroklos, his dear friend, listened to what Achilles sang. And Achilles sang of what royal state would be his if he gave up the war against the Trojans and went back to his father’s halls—old Peleus would welcome him, and he would seek a bride for him from amongst the loveliest of the Greek maidens. “In three days,” he sang, “can Poseidon, God of the Sea, bring me to my own land and to my father’s royal castle."’
’"Well dost thou sing, Achilles,” said Odysseus to him, “and pleasant would it be to hear thy song if our hearts were not filled up with great griefs. But have not nine years passed away since we came here to make war on Troy? And now are not our ships’ timbers rotted and their tacklings loosed, and do not many of our warriors think in their hearts how their wives and children have long been waiting for their return? And still the walls of Troy rise up before us as high and as unconquerable as ever! No wonder our hearts are filled up with griefs. And now Achilles, the greatest of our heroes, and the Myrmidons, the best of our warriors, have left us and gone out of the fight."’