So saying, she went down from the bright upper chamber, not alone, for two handmaids attended her. Now when the fair lady reached the wooers she stood by the doorpost of the well-built hall,
holding before her face her shining veil; and a faithful handmaid stood on either side of her. Straightway then the knees of the wooers were loosened and their hearts enchanted with love, and they all prayed, each that he might lie by her side. But she spoke to Telemachus, her dear son:
“Telemachus, thy mind and thy thoughts are no longer steadfast as heretofore. When thou wast but a child thou wast wont to revolve in thy mind thoughts more cunning; but now that thou art grown and hast reached the bounds of manhood, and wouldest be called a rich man's son by one who looked only to thy stature and thy comeliness, being himself a stranger from afar,
thy mind and thy thoughts are no longer right as before. What a thing is this that has been done in these halls, that thou hast suffered yon stranger to be so maltreated! How now, if the stranger, while sitting thus in our house, should come to some harm through grievous mishandling?
On thee, then, would fall shame and disgrace among men.”
Then wise Telemachus answered her: “My mother, in this matter I take it not ill that thou art filled with anger. Yet of myself I know in my heart and understand each thing, the good and the evil, whereas heretofore I was but a child.
But I am not able to plan all things wisely, for these men here thwart my will, keeping by me, one on this side and one on that, with evil purpose, and I have none to help me. Howbeit, I can tell thee, this battle between the stranger and Irus fell not out according to the mind of the wooers, but the stranger proved the better man.
I would, O father Zeus, and Athena, and Apollo, that even now the wooers were thus subdued in our halls, and were hanging their heads, some in the court and some within the hall, and that each man's limbs were loosened, even as Irus now sits yonder by the gate of the court,
hanging his head like a drunken man, and cannot stand erect upon his feet, or go home to whatsoever place he is wont to go, because his limbs are loosened.”
Thus they spoke to one another. But Eurymachus addressed Penelope, and said:
“Daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, if all the Achaeans throughout Iasian Argos could see thee, even more wooers would be feasting in your halls from to-morrow on, for thou excellest all women in comeliness and stature, and in the wise heart within thee.”