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[90] Then the much-enduring, goodly Odysseus answered him: “Friend, since surely it is right for me to make answer—verily ye rend my heart, as I hear your words, such wantonness you say the wooers devise in the halls in despite of thee, so goodly a man. [95] Tell me, art thou willingly thus oppressed? Or do the people throughout the land hate thee, following the voice of a god? Or hast thou cause to blame thy brothers, in whose fighting a man trusts even if a great strife arise. Would that with my present temper I were as young as thou, [100] either the son of blameless Odysseus, or Odysseus himself,1 straightway then might some stranger cut my head from off my neck, if I did not prove myself the bane of them all when I had come to the halls of Odysseus, son of Laertes. [105] But if they should overwhelm me by their numbers, alone as I was, far rather would I die, slain in my own halls, than behold continually these shameful deeds, strangers mishandled, and men dragging the handmaidens in shameful fashion through the fair halls, [110] and wine drawn to waste, and men devouring my bread all heedlessly, without limit, with no end to the business.” And wise Telemachus answered him: “Then verily, stranger, I will frankly tell thee all. Neither do the people at large bear me any grudge or hatred, [115] nor have I cause to blame brothers, in whose fighting a man trusts, even if a great strife arise. For in this wise has the son of Cronos made our house to run in but a single line. As his only son did Arceisius beget Laertes, as his only son again did his father beget Odysseus, and Odysseus [120] begot me as his only son, and left me in his halls, and had no joy of me. Therefore it is that foes past counting are now in the house; for all the princes who hold sway over the islands—Dulichium, and Same, and wooded Zacynthus—and those who lord it over rocky Ithaca, [125] all these woo my mother and lay waste my house. And she neither refuses the hateful marriage, nor is she able to make an end; but they with feasting consume my substance, and will ere long bring me, too, to ruin. Yet these things verily lie on the knees of the gods. [130] But, father, do thou go with speed, and tell constant Penelope that she has me safe, and I am come from Pylos. But I will abide here, and do thou come back hither, when thou hast told thy tale to her alone; but of the rest of the Achaeans let no one learn it, for many there are who contrive evil against me.”

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 2.365
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