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He spoke, and sacrificed the firstling pieces to the gods that are for ever, and, when he had made libations of the flaming wine, he placed the cup in the hands of Odysseus, the sacker of cities, and took his seat by his own portion. And bread was served to them by Mesaulius, whom the swineherd [450] had gotten by himself alone, while his master was gone, without the knowledge of his mistress or the old Laertes, buying him of the Taphians with his own goods. So they put forth their hands to the good cheer lying ready before them. But when they had put from them the desire of food and drink, [455] Mesaulius took away the food, and they were fain to go to their rest, sated with bread and meat. Now the night came on, foul and without a moon, and Zeus rained the whole night through, and the West Wind, ever the rainy wind, blew strong. Then Odysseus spoke among them, making trial of the swineherd, [460] to see whether he would strip off his own cloak and give it him, or bid some other of his comrades to do so, since he cared for him so greatly: “Hear me now, Eumaeus and all the rest of you, his men, with a wish in my heart will I tell a tale; for the wine bids me, befooling wine, which sets one, even though he be right wise, to singing [465] and laughing softly, and makes him stand up and dance, aye, and brings forth a word which were better unspoken. Still, since I have once spoken out, I will hide nothing. Would that I were young and my strength firm as when we made ready our ambush, and led it beneath the walls of Troy. [470] The leaders were Odysseus and Menelaus, son of Atreus, and with them I was third in command; for so had they ordered it themselves. Now when we had come to the city and the steep wall, round about the town in the thick brushwood among the needs and swamp-land [475] we lay, crouching beneath our arms, and night came on, foul, when the North Wind had fallen, and frosty, and snow came down on us from above, covering us like rime, bitter cold, and ice formed upon our shields. Now all the rest had cloaks and tunics, and slept in peace, with their shields covering their shoulders, [480] but I, when I set out, had left my cloak behind with my comrades in my folly, for I did not think that even so I should be cold, and had come with my shield alone and my bright kilt. But when it was the third watch of the night, and the stars had turned their course, then I spoke to Odysseus, who was near me, [485] nudging him with my elbow; and he straightway gave ear: “Son of Laertes, sprung from Zeus, Odysseus of many devices, lo now, no longer shall I be among the living. Nay, the cold is killing me, for I have no cloak. Some god beguiled me to wear my tunic only, and now there is no more escape.’ [490] “So I spoke, and he then devised this plan in his heart, such a man was he both to plan and to fight; and speaking in a low voice he said to me: ‘Be silent now, lest another of the Achaeans hear thee.’

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 5.296
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 9.231
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CENA
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