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But Penelope lay in her own room upstairs unable to eat or drink, and wondering whether her brave son would escape, or be overpowered by the wicked suitors. Like a lioness caught in the toils with huntsmen hemming her in on every side she thought and thought till she sank into a slumber, and lay on her bed bereft of thought and motion.

Then Athena bethought her of another matter, and made a vision in the likeness of Penelope's sister Iphthime daughter of Ikarios who had married Eumelos and lived in Pherai. She told the vision to go to the house of Odysseus, and to make Penelope leave off crying, so it came into her room by the hole through which the thong went for pulling the door to, and hovered over her head, saying,

"You are asleep, Penelope: the gods who live at ease will not suffer you to weep and be so sad. Your son has done them no wrong, so he will yet come back to you."

Penelope, who was sleeping sweetly at the gates of dreamland, answered, "Sister, why have you come here? You do not come very often, but I suppose that is because you live such a long way off. Am I, then, to leave off crying and refrain from all the sad thoughts that torture me? I, who have lost my brave and lion-hearted husband, who had every good quality [aretê] under heaven, and whose kleos was great over all Hellas and middle Argos; and now my darling son has gone off on board of a ship - a foolish man who has never been used to undergoing ordeals [ponos], nor to going about among gatherings of men. I am even more anxious about him than about my husband; I am all in a tremble when I think of him, lest something should happen to him, either from the people in the dêmos where he has gone, or at sea, for he has many enemies who are plotting against him, and are bent on killing him before he can return home."

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load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 11.458
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 2.273
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