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But if he is one of the immortals come down from heaven, [200] then is this some new thing which the gods are planning; for ever heretofore have they been wont to appear to us in manifest form, when we sacrifice to them glorious hecatombs, and they feast among us, sitting even where we sit. Aye, and if one of us as a lone wayfarer meets them, [205] they use no concealment, for we are of near kin to them, as are the Cyclopes and the wild tribes of the Giants.” Then Odysseus of many wiles answered him, and said: “Alcinous, far from thee be that thought; for I am not like the immortals, who hold broad heaven, [210] either in stature or in form, but like mortal men. Whomsoever ye know among men who bear greatest burden of woe, to them might I liken myself in my sorrows. Yea, and I could tell a yet longer tale of all the evils which I have endured by the will of the gods. [215] But as for me, suffer me now to eat, despite my grief; for there is nothing more shameless than a hateful belly, which bids a man perforce take thought thereof, be he never so sore distressed and laden with grief at heart, even as I, too, am laden with grief at heart, yet ever does my belly [220] bid me eat and drink, and makes me forget all that I have suffered, and commands me to eat my fill. But do ye make haste at break of day, that ye may set me, hapless one, on the soil of my native land, even after my many woes. Yea, let life leave me, when I have seen once more [225] my possessions, my slaves, and my great high-roofed house.” So he spoke, and they all praised his words, and bade send the stranger on his way, since he had spoken fittingly. Then when they had poured libations, and had drunk to their heart's content, they went each man to his home, to take their rest, [230] and goodly Odysseus was left behind in the hall, and beside him sat Arete and godlike Alcinous; and the handmaids cleared away the dishes of the feast. Then white-armed Arete was the first to speak; for, as she saw it, she knew his [235] fair raiment, the mantle and tunic, which she herself had wrought with her handmaids. And she spoke, and addressed him with winged words: “Stranger, this question will I myself ask thee first. Who art thou among men, and from whence? Who gave thee this raiment? Didst thou not say that thou camest hither wandering over the sea?”

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load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
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    • Thomas D. Seymour, Commentary on Homer's Iliad, Books IV-VI, 6.128
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