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And again another of the proud youths would say: “Would that the fellow might find profit in just such measure as he shall prove able ever to string this bow.” So spoke the wooers, but Odysseus of many wiles, [405] as soon as he had lifted the great bow and scanned it on every side—even as when a man well-skilled in the lyre and in song easily stretches the string about a new peg, making fast at either end the twisted sheep-gut—so without effort did Odysseus string the great bow. [410] And he held it in his right hand, and tried the string, which sang sweetly beneath his touch, like to a swallow in tone. But upon the wooers came great grief, and the faces of them changed color, and Zeus thundered loud, shewing forth his signs. Then glad at heart was the much-enduring, goodly Odysseus [415] that the son of crooked-counselling Cronos sent him an omen, and he took up a swift arrow, which lay by him on the table, bare, but the others were stored within the hollow quiver, even those of which the Achaeans were soon to taste. This he took, and laid upon the bridge of the bow, and drew the bow-string and the notched arrow [420] even from the chair where he sat, and let fly the shaft with sure aim, and did not miss the end of the handle of one of the axes, but clean through and out at the end passed the arrow weighted with bronze. But he spoke to Telemachus, saying: “Telemachus, the stranger [425] that sits in thy halls brings no shame upon thee, nor in any wise did I miss the mark, or labour long in stringing the bow; still is my strength unbroken—not as the wooers scornfully taunt me. But now it is time that supper too be made ready for the Achaeans, while yet there is light, and thereafter must yet other sport be made [430] with song and with the lyre; for these things are the accompaniments of a feast.” He spoke, and made a sign with his brows, and Telemachus, the dear son of divine Odysseus, girt about him his sharp sword, and took his spear in his grasp, and stood by the chair at his father's side, armed with gleaming bronze.

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