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Then Eurymachus, son of Polybus, answered her: [435] “Daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, be of good cheer, and let not things distress thy heart. That man lives not, nor shall live, nor shall ever be born, who shall lay hands upon thy son Telemachus while I live and behold the light upon the earth. [440] For thus will I speak out to thee, and verily it shall be brought to pass. Quickly shall that man's black blood flow forth about my spear; for of a truth me, too, did Odysseus the sacker of cities often set upon his knees, and put roast meat in my hands, and hold to my lips red wine. [445] Therefore Telemachus is far the dearest of all men to me, and I bid him have no fear of death, at least from the wooers; but from the gods can no man avoid it.” Thus he spoke to cheer her, but against that son he was himself plotting death. So she went up to her bright upper chamber [450] and then bewailed Odysseus, her dear husband, until flashing-eyed Athena cast sweet sleep upon her eyelids. But at evening the goodly swineherd came back to Odysseus and his son, and they were busily making ready their supper, and had slain a boar of a year old. Then Athena [455] came close to Odysseus, son of Laertes, and smote him with her wand, and again made him an old man; and mean raiment she put about his body, lest the swineherd might look upon him and know him, and might go to bear tidings to constant Penelope, and not hold the secret fast in his heart. [460] Now Telemachus spoke first to the swineherd, and said: “Thou hast come, goodly Eumaeus. What news is there in the city? Have the proud wooers by this time come home from their ambush, or are they still watching for me where they were, to take me on my homeward way?” To him, then, swineherd Eumaeus, didst thou make answer and say: [465] “I was not minded to go about the city, asking and enquiring of this; my heart bade me with all speed to come back hither when I had given my message. But there joined me a swift messenger from thy companions, a herald, who was the first to tell the news to thy mother. [470] And this further thing I know, for I saw it with my eyes. I was now above the city, as I went on my way, where the hill of Hermes is, when I saw a swift ship putting into our harbor, and there were many men in her, and she was laden with shields and double-pointed spears. [475] And I thought it was they, but I have no knowledge.” So he spoke, and the strong and mighty Telemachus smiled and with his eyes he glanced at his father, but shunned the swineherd's eye. And when they had ceased from their labour and had made ready the meal, they fell to feasting, nor did their hearts lack aught of the equal feast. [480] But when they had put from them the desire of food and drink, they bethought them of rest, and took the gift of sleep.

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