Page:The Iliad of Homer (Butler).djvu/228

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208
[ILIAD
IDOMENEUS AND MERIONES

gleam flashes far and wide—even so did his armour gleam about him as he ran. Meriones his sturdy squire met him while he was still near his tent (for he was going to fetch his spear) and Idomeneus said—

249"Meriones, fleet son of Molus, best of comrades, why have you left the field? Are you wounded, and is the point of the weapon hurting you? or have you been sent to fetch me? I want no fetching; I had far rather fight than stay in my tent."

254"Idomeneus," answered Meriones, "I come for a spear, if I can find one in my tent; I have broken the one I had, in throwing it at the shield of Deïphobus."

259And Idomeneus captain of the Cretans answered, "You will find one spear, or twenty if you so please, standing up against the end wall of my tent. I have taken them from Trojans whom I have killed, for I am not one to keep my enemy at arm's length; therefore I have spears, bossed shields, helmets, and burnished corslets."

266Then Meriones said, "I too in my tent and at my ship have spoils taken from the Trojans, but they are not at hand. I have been at all times valorous, and wherever there has been hard fighting have held my own among the foremost. There may be those among the Achæans who do not know how I fight, but you know it well enough yourself."

274Idomeneus answered, "I know you for a brave man: you need not tell me. If the best men at the ships were being chosen to go on an ambush—and there is nothing like this for showing what a man is made of; it comes out then who is cowardly and who brave; the coward will change colour at every touch and turn; he is full of fears, and keeps shifting his weight first on one knee and then on the other; his heart beats fast as he thinks of death, and one can hear the chattering of his teeth; whereas the brave man will not change colour nor be frightened on finding himself in ambush, but is all the time longing to go into action—if the best men were being chosen for such