And next after him Antilochus of the stock of Neleus drave his horses,for that by guile, and nowise by speed, had he outstripped Menelaus; howbeit even so Menelaus guided his swift horses close behind. Far as a horse is from the wheel, a horse that draweth his master over the plain,and straineth at the car—the tire thereof do the hindmost hairs of his tail touch,for it runneth close behind, and but scant space is there between, as he courseth over the wide plain—even by so much was Menelaus behind peerless Antilochus, though at the first he was behind far as a man hurleth the discus; howbeit quickly was he overtaking Antilochus, for the goodly mettleof the mare of Agamemnon, fair-maned Aethe, waxed ever higher. And if the course had been yet longer for the twain, then had he passed him by, neither left the issue in doubt. But Meriones, valiant squire of Idomeneus, was a spear-cast behind glorious Menelaus,for slowest of all were his fair-maned horses, and himself least skilled to drive a chariot in the race. And the son of Admetus came in last, behind all the rest, dragging his fair chariot and driving his horses before him. And at sight of him swift-footed, goodly Achilles had pityand he stood up amid the Argives, and spake winged words:
Lo, in the last place driveth his single-hooved horses the man that is far the best. But come, let us give him a prize, as is meet, a prize for the second place; but the first let the son of Tydeus bear away.So spake he, and they all assented even as he bade.And now would he have given him the mare —for the Achaeans assented thereto —but that Antilochus, son of great-souled Nestor, uprose and answered Achilles, son of Peleus, to claim his due:
Achilles, sore wroth shall I be with thee if thou fulfill this word, for thou art minded to rob me of my prize,bethinking thee of this, how his chariot and his swift honses came to harm, and himself withal, good man though he be. Nay, he should have made prayer to the immortals, then had he nowise come in last of all in the race. But if so be thou pitiest him, and he be dear to thy heart, lo, in thy hut is great store of gold, and bronze is thereand sheep, aye, and handmaids too, and single-hooved horses. Thereof do thou hereafter take and give him even a goodlier prize, or even now forthwith, that the Achaeans may applaud thee. But the mare will not yield; for her let any man that will, essay to do battle with me by might of hand.
So spake he , and swift-footed, goodly Achilles smiled, having joy in Antilochus, for that he was his dear comrade; and he made answer, and spake to him winged words:
Antilochus, if thou wilt have men give to Eumelus some other thing from out my house as a further prize, even this will I do.I will give him the corselet that I took from Asteropaeus; of bronze is it, and thereon is set in circles a casting of bright tin, and it shall be to him a thing of great worth.He spake, and bade his dear comrade Automedon bring it from the hut and he went and brought it,and placed it in Eumelus' hands and he received it gladly. Then among them uprose also Menelaus, sore vexed at heart, furiously wroth at Antilochus; and a herald gave the staff into his hand, and proclaimed silence among the Argives; and thereafter spake among them the godlike man:
Antilochus, thou that aforetime wast wise, what a thing hast thou wrought! Thou hast put my skill to shame and hast thwarted my horses, thrusting to the front thine own that were worser far. Come now, ye leaders and rulers of the Argives, judge ye aright betwixt us twain, neither have regard unto either,lest in aftertime some one of the brazen-coated Achaeans shall say: ‘Over Antilochus did Menelaus prevail by lies, and depart with the mare, for that his horses were worser far, but himself the mightier in worth and in power.’ Nay, but I will myself declare the right, and I deem thatnone other of the Danaans shall reproach me, for my judgement shall be just. Antilochus, fostered of Zeus, up, come thou hither and, as is the appointed way, stand thou before thy horses and chariot, and take in hand the slender lash with which aforetimethou wast wont to drive, and laying thy hand on thy horses swear by him that holdeth and shaketh the earththat not of thine own will didst thou hinder my chariot by guile.
Then in turn wise Antilochus answered him:
Bear with me, now, for far younger am I than thou, king Menelaus, and thou art the elder and the better man. Thou knowest of what sort are the transgressions of a man that he is young,for hasty is he of purpose and but slender is his wit. Wherefore let thy heart be patient; the mare that I have won will I give thee of my self. Aye, and if thou shouldst ask some other goodlier thing from out my house, forthwith were I fain to give it thee out of hand, rather than all my days be cast out of thy heart, thou nurtured of Zeus,and be a sinner in the eyes of the gods.So spake the son of great-souled Nestor, and led up the mare, and gave her into the hands of Menelaus. And his heart was gladdened even as the corn when with the dew upon the ears it waxeth ripe, what time the fields are bristling.In such wise, Menelaus, was thy heart gladdened in thy breast. Then he spake winged words unto Antilochos, saying:
Antilochus, lo now, I of myself cease from mine anger against thee, since nowise flighty or light of wit wast thou of old, albeit now hath thy youth got the better of thy reason.Another time seek not to outwit thy betters. Verily not soon should another of the Achaeans have persuaded me, but thou hast suffered greatly and toiled greatly, thou and thy brave father and thy brother, for my sake; wherefore I will hearken to thy prayer, aye,and will give unto thee the mare, for all she is mine own, to the end that these too may know that my heart is never over-haughty neither unbending.He spake, and gave the mare unto Nosmon, the comrade of Antilochus, to lead away, and himself thereafter took the shining cauldron. And Meriones took up the two talents of gold in the fourth place,even as he drave; but the fifth prize was left unclaimed, even the two-handled urn. Unto Nestor Achilles gave this, bearing it through the gathering of the Argives; and he came to his side, and said
Take this now, old sire, and let it be treasure for thee, a memorial of Patroclus' burying; for nevermore shalt thou behold himamong the Argives. Lo, I give thee this prize unwon; for not in boxing shalt thou contend, neither in wrestling, nor shalt thou enter the lists for the casting of javelins, neither run upon thy feet; for now grievous old age weigheth heavy upon thee.
So saying he placed the urn in his arms, and Nestor received it gladly,and spake, and addressed him with winged words :
Aye, verily, my son, all this hast thou spoken aright, for my limbs, even my feet, are no more firm, O my friend, as of old, nor do my arms as of old dart out lightly from my shoulders on either side. Would that I were young, and my strength were firmas on the day when the Epeians were burying lord Amarynceus at Buprasium, and his sons appointed prizes in honour of the king. Then was there no man that proved himself my peer, neither of the Epeians nor of Pylians themselves nor of the great-souled Aetolians. In boxing I overcame Clytomedes, son of Enops,and in wrestling Ancaeus of Pleuron, who stood up against me; Iphiclus I outran in the foot-race, good man though he was; and in casting the spear I outthrew Phyleus and Polydorus. In the chariot race alone the twain sons of Actor outstripped me by force of numbers crowding their horses to the front, being exceeding jealous for victory,for that the goodliest prize abode yet there in the lists. Twin brethren were they— the one drave with sure hand, drave with sure hand, while the other plied the goad. Thus was I on a time, but now let men that be younger face such-like tasks; me it behoveth to yield to grievous old age,but then was I pre-eminent among warriors. But come, for thy comrade too hold thou funeral rites with contests. For this gift, I receive it with gladness, and my heart rejoiceth that thou rememberest me, thy friend, neither am I forgotten of thee, and the honour wherewith it beseemeth that I be honoured among the Achaeans.And to thee may the gods in requital thereof grant grace to satisfy thy heart.So spake he, and the son of Peleus went his way through the great throng of the Achaeans, when he had hearkened to all the praise of the son of Neleus. Then set he forth prizes for grievous boxing. A sturdy mule he brought and tethered in the place of gathering,a mule of six years, unbroken, the which is hardest of all to break; and for him that should be worsted he appointed a two-handled cup. Then he stood up, and spake among the Argives, saying:
Son of Atreus, and ye other well-greaved Achaeans, for these prizes we invite warriors twain, the best there are, to lift up their hands and box amain.Let him to whom Apollo shall grant strength to endure, and all the Achaeans have knowledge thereof, go his way to his hut leading the sturdy muIe; but he that is worsted shall bear as his prize the two-handled cup.
So spake he, and forthwith uprose a man valiant and tall,well-skilled in boxing, even Epeius, son of Panopeus; and he laid hold of the sturdy mule, and spake, saying:
Let him draw nigh, whoso is to bear as his prize the two-handled cup: the mule I deem that none other of the Achaeans shall lead away, by worsting me with his fists, for I avow me to be the best man.Sufficeth it not that I fall short in battle? One may not, meseemeth, prove him a man of skill in every work. For thus will I speak, and verily this thing shall be brought to pass : utterly will I rend his flesh and crush his bones. Wherefore let them that be next of kin abide here in a throng,that they may bear him forth when worsted by my hands.So spake he, and they all became hushed in silence. Euryalus alone uprose to face him, a godlike man, son of king Mecisteus, son of Talaus, who on a time had come to Thebes for the burial of Oedipus,when he had fallen, and there had worsted all the sons of Cadmus. And Tydeus' son, famed for his spear, made Euryalus ready, heartening him with words, and much he wished for him victory. A girdle first he cast about him, and thereafter gave him well-cut thongs of the hide of an ox of the field.So the twain, when they had girded themselves, stepped into the midst of the place of gathering, and lifting their mighty hands on high one against the other, fell to, and their hands clashed together in heavy blows. Dread then was the grinding of their teeth, and the sweat flowed on every side from off their limbs But upon him goodly Epeius rushedas he peered for an opening,and smote him on the cheek, nor after that, methinks, did he long stand upright, for even there did his glorious limbs sink beneath him. And as when beneath the ripple of the North Wind a fish leapeth up on the tangle-strewn sand of a shallow, and then the black wave hideth it, even so leapt up Euryalus when he was smitten. But great-souled Epeiustook him in his hands and set him on his feet, and his dear comrades thronged about him and led him through the place of gathering with trailing feet, spitting out clotted blood and letting his head hang to one side; and they brought him wandering in his wits and set him down in the midst of their company, and themselves went and fetched the two-handled cup.