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Then the much-enduring, goodly Odysseus answered him: “Friend, since thou dost utterly make denial, and declarest [150] that he will never come again, and thy heart is ever unbelieving, therefore will I tell thee, not at random but with an oath, that Odysseus shall return. And let me have a reward for bearing good tidings, as soon as he shall come, and reach his home; clothe me in a cloak and tunic, goodly raiment. [155] But ere that, how sore soever my need, I will accept naught; for hateful in my eyes as the gates of Hades is that man, who, yielding to stress of poverty, tells a deceitful tale. Now be my witness Zeus, above all gods, and this hospitable board, and the hearth of noble Odysseus to which I am come, [160] that verily all these things shall be brought to pass even as I tell thee. In the course of this self-same day1 Odysseus shall come hither, as the old moon wanes, and the new appears. He shall return, and take vengeance on all those who here dishonor his wife and his glorious son.” [165] To him then, swineherd Eumaeus, didst thou make answer, and say: “Old man, neither shall I, meseems, pay thee this reward for bearing good tidings, nor shall Odysseus ever come to his home. Nay, drink in peace, and let us turn our thoughts to other things, and do not thou recall this to my mind; for verily the heart in my breast [170] is grieved whenever any one makes mention of my good master. But as for thy oath, we will let it be; yet I would that Odysseus might come, even as I desire, I, and Penelope, and the old man Laertes, and godlike Telemachus. But now it is for his son that I grieve unceasingly, [175] even for Telemachus, whom Odysseus begot. When the gods had made him grow like a sapling, and I thought that he would be among men no whit worse than his dear father, glorious in form and comeliness, then some one of the immortals marred the wise spirit within him, or haply some man, and he went [180] to sacred Pylos after tidings of his father. For him now the lordly wooers lie in wait on his homeward way, that the race of godlike Arceisius may perish out of Ithaca, and leave no name. But verily we will let him be; he may be taken, or he may escape, and the son of Cronos stretch forth his hand to guard him. [185] But come, do thou, old man, tell me of thine own sorrows, and declare me this truly, that I may know full well. Who art thou among men, and from whence? Where is thy city, and where thy parents? On what manner of ship didst thou come, and how did sailors bring thee to Ithaca? Who did they declare themselves to be? [190] For nowise, methinks, didst thou come hither on foot.”

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    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 10.37
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