Like a mother bird hurrying morsels back
to her unfledged young – whatever she can catch –
but it’s all starvation wages for herself.
So for me.
Many a sleepless night I’ve bivouacked in harness,
day after bloody day I’ve hacked my passage through,
fighting other soldiers to win their wives as prizes.

– Homer

The Iliad, Book 9, lines 392-397. Achilles is complaining that he has not received enough recognition for his efforts in the war against the Trojans. In an epic simile he compares himself to the mother bird rushing back with morsels to her young, but starving herself.