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Then in answer spake unto her godlike Priam: [300] “Wife, I will not disregard this hest of thine; for good is it to lift up hands to Zeus, if so be he will have pity.” Thus spake the old man, and bade the housewife that attended pour over his hands water undefiled; and the handmaid drew nigh bearing in her hands alike basin and ewer. [305] Then, when he had washed his hands, he took the cup from his wife and then made prayer, standing in the midst of thie court, and poured forth the wine, with a look toward heaven, and spake ahoud, saying:“Father Zeus, that rulest from Ida, most glorious, most great, grant that I may come unto Achilles' hut as one to be welcomed and to be pitied; [310] and send a bird of omen, even the swift messenger that to thyself is dearest of birds and is mightiest in strength; let him appear upon my right hand, to the end that, marking the sign with mine own eyes, I may have trust therein, and go my way to the ships of the Danaans of fleet steeds.” So spake he in prayer, and Zeus the Counsellor heard him. [315] Forthwith he sent an eagle, surest of omen among winged birds, the dusky eagle, even the hunter, that men call also the black eagle. Wide as is the door of some rich man's high-roofed treasure-chamber, a door well fitted with bolts, even so wide spread his wings to this side and to that; and he appeared to them on the right, [320] darting across the city. And at sight of him they waxed glad, and the hearts in the breasts of all were cheered. Then the old man made haste and stepped upon his car, and drave forth from the gateway and the echoing portico. In front the mules drew the four-wheeled waggon, [325] driven of wise-hearted Idaeus, and behind came the horses that the old man ever plying the lash drave swiftly through the city; and his kinsfolk all followed wailing aloud as for one faring to his death. But when they had gone down from the city and were come to the plain, [330] back then to Ilios turned his sons and his daughters' husbands; howbeit the twain were not unseen of Zeus, whose voice is borne afar, as they came forth upon the plain, but as he saw the old man he had pity, and forthwith spake to Hermes, his dear son: “Hermes, seeing thou lovest above all others to companion a man, [335] and thou givest ear to whomsoever thou art minded up, go and guide Priam unto the hollow ships of the Achaeans in such wise that no man may see him or be ware of him among all the Damans, until he be come to the son of Pe1eus.”

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