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Little man, the wise regard wealth as the god to worship; all else is just prating and fine-sounding sentiments. As for the headlands where my father's temples are built, I pay them no heed. Why did you bother to put them in your speech? [320] And as for Zeus's thunder-bolt, I do not shudder at that, stranger, nor do I know any respect in which he is my superior as a god. <If I ever thought about him before,>1 I am not concerned about him henceforth. How it is that I am not concerned you may hear. When Zeus sends his rain from above, taking my water-tight shelter in this cave [325] and dining on roasted calf or some wild beast, I put on a feast for my upturned belly, then drinking dry a whole storage-vat of milk, I drum on it, making a din to rival Zeus's thunder. And when the north wind out of Thrace pours snow on us, [330] I wrap my body in the skins of beasts, pile up a great blazing fire, and pay no heed to the snow. The Earth brings forth grass willy-nilly to feed my flock. These I sacrifice to no one but myself—never to the gods— [335] and to my belly, the greatest of divinities. To guzzle and eat day by day and to give oneself no pain—this is Zeus in the eyes of men of sense. As for those who have passed laws and complicated men's lives, [340] they can go hang. For my part, I shall not forgo giving pleasure to my heart—by eating you. Guest-presents you shall have—you shall not blame me there—guest-presents of this kind: fire to warm you, salt2 inherited from my father, and a bronze pot, which when it has reached a boil will clothe your ill-clad bodies nicely. [345] Now go inside in order that you may stand around the altar of the god who dwells within and give me sumptuous entertainment.

Oh, alas, I have escaped toils at Troy and on the sea only to put in now at the fierce and harborless heart of this godless man!

[350] O Pallas Athena, Zeus's divine daughter, now, now is the time to help me. For I have come into trouble greater than at Troy and to the very uttermost of danger. And you, Zeus, Protector of Guests, who dwell in the bright realm of the stars, look on these things. For if you take no note of them, [355] men mistakenly think you are the god Zeus, when you are in fact no god at all.The Cyclops herds Odysseus and his men into the cave. Silenus follows.

1 My suppletion.

2 Conjecturally restored. The giving of salt was the proverbial emblem of hospitality, and Polyphemus has plenty from his father Poseidon. He will use it, however, to season his guest for eating.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 91
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