Page:The Iliad of Homer (Butler).djvu/217

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BK. XII]
197
MENESTHEUS SENDS FOR AJAX

shields and helmets and the battering of gates with a din which reached the skies. For all the gates had been closed, and the Trojans were hammering at them to try and break their way through them. Menestheus, therefore, sent Thoötes with a message to Ajax. "Run, good Thoötes," said he, "and call Ajax, or better still bid both come, for it will be all over with us here directly; the leaders of the Lycians are upon us, men who have ever fought desperately heretofore. But if the pair have too much on their hands to let them both come, at any rate let Ajax son of Telamon do so, and let Teucer the famous bowman come with him."

351The messenger did as he was told, and set off running along the wall of the Achæans. When he reached the Ajaxes he said to them, "Sirs, princes of the Argives, the son of noble Peteos bids you come to him for a while and help him. You had better both come if you can, or it will be all over with him directly; the leaders of the Lycians are upon him, men who have ever fought desperately heretofore; if you have too much on your hands to let both come, at any rate let Ajax son of Telamon do so, and let Teucer the famous bowman come with him."

364Great Ajax, son of Telamon, heeded the message, and at once spoke to the son of Oïleus. "Ajax," said he, "do you two, yourself and brave Lycomedes, stay here and keep the Danaans in heart to fight their hardest. I will go over yonder, and bear my part in the fray, but I will come back here at once as soon as I have given them the help they need."

370With this, Ajax son of Telamon set off, and Teucer his brother by the same father went also, with Pandion to carry Teucer's bow. They went along inside the wall, and when they came to the tower where Menestheus was (and hard pressed indeed did they find him) the brave captains and leaders of the Lycians were storming the battlements as it were a thick dark cloud, fighting in close quarters, and raising the battle-cry aloud.

387First, Ajax son of Telamon killed brave Epicles, a com-