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[250] Then wise Penelope answered him: “Eurymachus, all excellence of mine, both of beauty and of form, the immortals destroyed on the day when the Argives embarked for Ilios, and with them went my husband Odysseus. If he might but come and watch over this life of mine, [255] greater would be my fame and fairer. But now I am in sorrow, so many woes has some god brought upon me. Verily, when he went forth and left his native land, he clasped my right hand by the wrist, and said: “‘Wife, I deem not that the well-greaved Achaeans [260] will all return from Troy safe and unscathed, for the Trojans, men say, are men of war, hurlers of the spear, and drawers of the bow, and drivers of swift horses, such as most quickly decide the great strife of equal war. [265] Therefore I know not whether the god will bring me back, or whether I shall be cut off there in the land of Troy: so have thou charge of all things here. Be mindful of my father and my mother in the halls even as thou art now, or yet more, while I am far away. But when thou shalt see my son a bearded man, [270] wed whom thou wilt, and leave thy house.’ “So he spoke, and now all this is being brought to pass. The night shall come when a hateful marriage shall fall to the lot of me accursed, whose happiness Zeus has taken away. But herein has bitter grief come upon my heart and soul, [275] for such as yours was never the way of wooers heretofore. They who are fain to woo a lady of worth and the daughter of a rich man and vie with one another, these bring of themselves cattle and goodly flocks, a banquet for the friends of the bride, and give to her glorious gifts; [280] but they do not devour the livelihood of another without atonement.” So she spoke, and the much-enduring, goodly Odysseus was glad, because she drew from them gifts, and beguiled their souls with gentle words, but her mind was set on other things. Then Antinous, son of Eupeithes, spoke to her again, and said: [285] “Daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, as for gifts, if any man of the Achaeans is minded to bring them hither, do thou take them; for it is not well to refuse a gift. But for us, we will go neither to our lands nor elsewhither, until thou weddest him whosoever is best of the Achaeans.”

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