But the wooers broke into uproar throughout the shadowy halls, and all prayed, each that he might lie by her side. And among them wise Telemachus was the first to speak:
“Wooers of my mother, overweening in your insolence, for the present let us make merry with feasting,
but let there be no brawling; for this is a goodly thing, to listen to a minstrel such as this man is, like to the gods in voice. But in the morning let us go to the assembly and take our seats, one and all, that I may declare my word to you outright that you depart from these halls. Prepare you other feasts,
eating your own substance and changing from house to house. But if this seems in your eyes to be a better and more profitable thing, that one man's livelihood should be ruined without atonement, waste ye it. But I will call upon the gods that are forever, if haply Zeus may grant that deeds of requital may be wrought.
Without atonement, then, should ye perish within my halls.”
So he spoke, and they all bit their lips and marvelled at Telemachus, for that he spoke boldly.
Then Antinous, son of Eupeithes, answered him:“Telemachus, verily the gods themselves are teaching thee
to be a man of vaunting tongue, and to speak with boldness. May the son of Cronos never make thee king in sea-girt Ithaca
, which thing is by birth thy heritage.”
Then wise Telemachus answered him: “Antinous, wilt thou be wroth with me for the word that I shall say?
Even this should I be glad to accept from the hand of Zeus. Thinkest thou indeed that this is the worst fate among men? Nay, it is no bad thing to be a king. Straightway one's house grows rich and oneself is held in greater honor. However, there are other kings of the Achaeans
full many in seagirt Ithaca
, both young and old. One of these haply may have this place, since goodly Odysseus is dead. But I will be lord of our own house and of the slaves that goodly Odysseus won for me.”
Then Eurymachus, son of Polybus, answered him:
“Telemachus, this matter verily lies on the knees of the gods, who of the Achaeans shall be king in sea-girt Ithaca
; but as for thy possessions, thou mayest keep them thyself, and be lord in thine own house. Never may that man come who by violence and against thy will shall wrest thy possessions from thee, while men yet live in Ithaca
But I am fain, good sir, to ask thee of the stranger, whence this man comes. Of what land does he declare himself to be? Where are his kinsmen and his native fields? Does he bring some tidings of thy father's coming, or came he hither in furtherance of some matter of his own?
How he started up, and was straightway gone! Nor did he wait to be known; and yet he seemed no base man to look upon.”
Then wise Telemachus answered him: “Eurymachus, surely my father's home-coming is lost and gone. No longer do I put trust in tidings, whencesoever they may come,
nor reck I of any prophecy which my mother haply may learn of a seer, when she has called him to the hall. But this stranger is a friend of my father's house from Taphos. He declares that he is Mentes, son of wise Anchialus, and he is lord over the oar-loving Taphians.”
So spoke Telemachus, but in his heart he knew the immortal goddess.