The rest approved his words, and
thereon men servants poured water over the hands of the guests, while
pages filled the mixing-bowls with wine and water and handed it round
after giving every man his drink-offering. Then, when they had made
their offerings and had drunk each as much as he desired, Odysseus
"Suitors of the illustrious
queen, listen that I may speak even as I am minded. I appeal more
especially to Eurymakhos, and to Antinoos who has just spoken with so
much reason. Cease shooting for the present and leave the matter to
the gods, but in the morning let heaven give victory to whom it will.
For the moment, however, give me the bow that I may prove the power
of my hands among you all, and see whether I still have as much
strength as I used to have, or whether travel and neglect have made
an end of it."
This made them all very angry,
for they feared he might string the bow; Antinoos therefore rebuked
him fiercely saying, "Wretched creature, you have not so much as a
grain of sense in your whole body; you ought to think yourself lucky
in being allowed to dine unharmed among your betters, without having
any smaller portion served you than we others have had, and in being
allowed to hear our conversation. No other beggar or stranger has
been allowed to hear what we say among ourselves; the wine must have
been doing you a mischief, as it does with all those drink
immoderately. It was wine that inflamed the Centaur Eurytion when he
was staying with Peirithoos among the Lapiths. When the wine had got
into his head he went mad and did ill deeds about the house of
Peirithoos; this grieved [akhos] the heroes who were
there assembled, so they rushed at him and cut off his ears and
nostrils; then they dragged him through the doorway out of the house,
so he went away crazed, and bore the burden
[atê] of his crime, bereft of understanding.
Henceforth, therefore, there was war between humankind and the
centaurs, but he brought it upon himself through his own drunkenness.
In like manner I can tell you that it will go hardly with you if you
string the bow: you will find no mercy from any one in our
dêmos, for we shall at once ship you off to king
Echetos, who kills every one that comes near him: you will never get
away alive, so drink and keep quiet without getting into a quarrel
with men younger than yourself."
Penelope then spoke to him.
"Antinoos," said she, "it is not right [dikaios] that
you should ill-treat any guest of Telemakhos who comes to this house.
If the stranger should prove strong [biê] enough
to string the mighty bow of Odysseus, can you suppose that he would
take me home with him and make me his wife? Even the man himself can
have no such idea in his mind: none of you need let that disturb his
feasting; it would be out of all reason."