Then Odysseus answered, "my lady
wife of Odysseus, you need not defer your tournament
[athlos], for Odysseus will return ere ever they can
string the bow, handle it how they will, and send their arrows
through the iron."
To this Penelope said, "As long,
sir, as you will sit here and talk to me, I can have no desire to go
to bed. Still, people cannot do permanently without sleep, and heaven
has appointed us dwellers on earth a time for all things. I will
therefore go upstairs and recline upon that couch which I have never
ceased to flood with my tears from the day Odysseus set out for the
city with a hateful name."
She then went upstairs to her own
room, not alone, but attended by her maidens, and when there, she
lamented her dear husband till Athena shed sweet sleep over her