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So she spoke, and made trial of her husband. But Odysseus, in a burst of anger, spoke to his true-hearted wife, and said: “Woman, truly this is a bitter word that thou hast spoken. Who has set my bed elsewhere? Hard would it be for one, [185] though never so skilled, unless a god himself should come and easily by his will set it in another place. But of men there is no mortal that lives, be he never so young and strong, who could easily pry it from its place, for a great token is wrought in the fashioned bed, and it was I that built it and none other. [190] A bush of long-leafed olive was growing within the court, strong and vigorous, and girth it was like a pillar. Round about this I built my chamber, till I had finished it, with close-set stones, and I roofed it over well, and added to it jointed doors, close-fitting. [195] Thereafter I cut away the leafy branches of the long-leafed olive, and, trimming the trunk from the root, I smoothed it around with the adze well and cunningly, and made it straight to the line, thus fashioning the bed-post; and I bored it all with the augur. Beginning with this I hewed out my bed, till I had finished it, [200] inlaying it with gold and silver and ivory, and I stretched on it a thong of ox-hide, bright with purple. Thus do I declare to thee this token; but I know not, woman, whether my bedstead is still fast in its place, or whether by now some man has cut from beneath the olive stump, and set the bedstead elsewhere.” [205] So he spoke, and her knees were loosened where she sat, and her heart melted, as she knew the sure tokens which Odysseus told her. Then with a burst of tears she ran straight toward him, and flung her arms about the neck of Odysseus, and kissed his head, and spoke, saying: “Be not vexed with me, Odysseus, for in all else [210] thou wast ever the wisest of men. It is the gods that gave us sorrow, the gods who begrudged that we two should remain with each other and enjoy our youth, and come to the threshold of old age. But be not now wroth with me for this, nor full of indignation, because at the first, when I saw thee, I did not thus give thee welcome. [215] For always the heart in my breast was full of dread, lest some man should come and beguile me with his words; for there are many that plan devices of evil. Nay, even Argive Helen, daughter of Zeus, would not have lain in love with a man of another folk, [220] had she known that the warlike sons of the Achaeans were to bring her home again to her dear native land. Yet verily in her case a god prompted her to work a shameful deed; nor until then did she lay up in her mind the thought of that folly, the grievous folly from which at the first sorrow came upon us too. [225] But now, since thou hast told the clear tokens of our bed, which no mortal beside has ever seen save thee and me alone and one single handmaid, the daughter of Actor, whom my father gave me or ever I came hither, even her who kept the doors of our strong bridal chamber, [230] lo, thou dost convince my heart, unbending as it is.”

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 8.404
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