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[440] “So I spoke, and he straightway made answer and said: ‘Wherefore in thine own case be thou never gentle even to thy wife. Declare not to her all the thoughts of thy heart, but tell her somewhat, and let somewhat also be hidden. Yet not upon thee, Odysseus, shall death come from thy wife, [445] for very prudent and of an understanding heart is the daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope. Verily we left her a bride newly wed, when we went to the war, and a boy was at her breast, a babe, who now, I ween, sits in the ranks of men, [450] happy in that his dear father will behold him when he comes, and he will greet his father as is meet. But my wife did not let me sate my eyes even with sight of my own son. Nay, ere that she slew even me, her husband. And another thing will I tell thee, and do thou lay it to heart: [455] in secret and not openly do thou bring thy ship to the shore of thy dear native land; for no longer is there faith in women. But, come, tell me this, and declare it truly, whether haply ye hear of my son as yet alive in Orchomenus it may be, or in sandy Pylos, [460] or yet with Menelaus in wide Sparta; for not yet has goodly Orestes perished on the earth.’ “So he spoke, and I made answer and said: ‘Son of Atreus, wherefore dost thou question me of this? I know not at all whether he be alive or dead, and it is an ill thing to speak words vain as wind.’ [465] “Thus we two stood and held sad converse with one another, sorrowing and shedding big tears; and there came up the spirit of Achilles, son of Peleus, and those of Patroclus and of peerless Antilochus and of Aias, who in comeliness and form was the goodliest [470] of all the Danaans after the peerless son of Peleus. And the spirit of the swift-footed son of Aeacus recognized me, and weeping, spoke to me winged words: “Son of Laertes, sprung from Zeus, Odysseus of many devices, rash man, what deed yet greater than this wilt thou devise in thy heart? [475] How didst thou dare to come down to Hades, where dwell the unheeding dead, the phantoms of men outworn.’1 “‘So he spoke, and I made answer and said:‘Achilles, son of Peleus, far the mightiest of the Achaeans, I came through need of Teiresias,2 if haply [480] he would tell me some plan whereby I might reach rugged Ithaca. For not yet have I come near to the land of Achaea, nor have I as yet set foot on my own country, but am ever suffering woes; whereas than thou, Achilles, no man aforetime was more blessed nor shall ever be hereafter. For of old, when thou wast alive, we Argives honored thee even as the gods, [485] and now that thou art here, thou rulest mightily among the dead. Wherefore grieve not at all that thou art dead, Achilles.’

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