“And after him I marked the mighty Heracles—his phantom; for he himself among the immortal gods takes his joy in the feast, and has to wife Hebe, of the fair ankles, daughter of great Zeus and of Here, of the golden sandals.
About him rose a clamor from the dead, as of birds flying everywhere in terror; and he like dark night, with his bow bare and with arrow on the string, glared about him terribly, like one in act to shoot. Awful was the belt about his breast,
a baldric of gold, whereon wondrous things were fashioned, bears and wild boars, and lions with flashing eyes, and conflicts, and battles, and murders, and slayings of men. May he never have designed,1
or hereafter design such another, even he who stored up in his craft the device of that belt.
He in turn knew me when his eyes beheld me, and weeping spoke to me winged words:
“‘Son of Laertes, sprung from Zeus, Odysseus of many devices, ah, wretched man, dost thou, too, drag out an evil lot such as I once bore beneath the rays of the sun?
I was the son of Zeus, son of Cronos, but I had woe beyond measure; for to a man far worse than I was I made subject, and he laid on me hard labours. Yea, he once sent me hither to fetch the hound of Hades, for he could devise for me no other task mightier than this.
The hound I carried off and led forth from the house of Hades; and Hermes was my guide, and flashing-eyed Athena.’
“So saying, he went his way again into the house of Hades, but I abode there steadfastly, in the hope that some other haply might still come forth of the warrior heroes who died in the days of old.
And I should have seen yet others of the men of former time, whom I was fain to behold, even Theseus and Peirithous, glorious children of the gods, but ere that the myriad tribes of the dead came thronging up with a wondrous cry, and pale fear seized me, lest
august Persephone might send forth upon me from out the house of Hades the head of the Gorgon, that awful monster.
“Straightway then I went to the ship and bade my comrades themselves to embark, and to loose the stern cables. So they went on board quickly and sat down upon the benches. And the ship was borne down the stream Oceanus
by the swelling flood,
first with our rowing, and afterwards the wind was fair.