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Patroklos






Then there came unto him the ghost of poor Patroklos, in all things like
unto the very man, in stature, and fair eyes, and voice; and he was
arrayed in vesture such as in life he wore. He stood above the hero's
head and challenged him:--

"Thou sleepest, Achilles, unmindful of me. Not in my lifetime wert thou
neglectful, but in death. Bury me with all speed; let me pass the gates
of Hades. Far off the souls, wraiths of the dead, keep me back, nor
suffer me yet to join them beyond the river; forlorn I wander up and
down the wide-doored house of Hades. And now give me thy hand, I
entreat; for never more shall I return from Hades, when once ye have
given me my meed of fire. Nay, never more shall we sit, at least in
life, apart from our comrades, taking counsel together; but upon me
hateful doom hath gaped--doom which was my portion even at birth. Aye
and to thee thyself also, Achilles, thou peer of the gods, it is fated
to perish beneath the wall of the wealthy Trojans. Another thing I will
tell thee, and will straitly charge thee, if peradventure thou wilt
hearken: lay not my bones apart from thine, Achilles, but side by side;
for we were brought up together in thy house, when Menoitios brought me,
a child, from Opoeeis to thy father's house because of woeful bloodshed
on the day when I slew the son of Amphidamas, myself a child,
unwittingly, but in wrath over our games. Then did Peleus, the knight,
take me into his home and rear me kindly and name me thy squire. So let
one urn also hide the bones of us both."

And swift-footed Achilles answered him and said:--

"Why, dearest and best-beloved, hast thou come hither to lay upon me
these thy several behests? Of a truth I will accomplish all, and bow to
thy command. But stand nearer, I pray; for a little space let us cast
our arms about each other, and take our fill of dire sorrow."

With these words he stretched forth his hands to clasp him, but could
not; for, like a smoke, the spirit vanished earthward with a wailing
cry. Amazed, Achilles sprang up, and smote his hands together, and spake
a piteous word:--

"O ye heavens! surely, even among the dead, the soul and wraith are
something (yet is there no life therein at all). For all night long the
soul of poor Patroklos stood beside me, crying and making lamentation,
and bade me do his will; it was the perfect image of himself."

So he spake, and in the hearts of them all roused desire for
lamentation; and while they yet were mourning about the pitiful corpse
appeared rosy-fingered dawn.





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