So spoke Antinous, and his word was pleasing to them, and each man sent forth a herald to bring his gifts. For Antinous he brought a large and beautiful robe, richly broidered, and in it were golden brooches, twelve in all, fitted with curved clasps.
And a chain did another straightway bring to Eurymachus, one cunningly wrought of gold, strung with amber beads, bright as the sun. A pair of earrings his squires brought to Eurydamas, with three clustering1
drops, and great grace shone therefrom. And out of the house of lord Peisander, son of Polyctor,
his squire brought a necklace, a jewel exceeding fair. So of the Achaeans one brought one fair gift and one another. But she thereafter, the fair lady, went up to her upper chamber, and her handmaids bare for her the beautiful gifts.
But the wooers
turned to dance and gladsome song, and made them merry, and waited for evening to come on. And as they made merry dark evening came upon them. Presently they set up three braziers in the hall to give them light, and round about them placed dry faggots, long since seasoned and hard, and newly split with the axe;
and in the spaces between they set torches;2
and in turn the handmaids of Odysseus, of the steadfast heart, kindled the flame. Then Zeus-born Odysseus, of many wiles, himself spoke among the maids, and said:
“Maidens of Odysseus, that has long been gone, go to the chambers where your honored queen abides,
and twist the yarn by her side, and make glad her heart, as you sit in the chamber, or card the wool with your hands; but I will give light to all these men. For if they wish to wait for fair-throned Dawn, they shall in no wise outdo me. I am one that can endure much.”
So he spoke, and the maids broke into a laugh, and glanced at one another. And fair-cheeked Melantho rated him shamefully, Melantho, whom Dolius begot, but whom Penelope had reared and cherished as her own child, and gave her playthings to her heart's desire. Yet even so she had at heart no sorrow for Penelope,
but she loved Eurymachus and was wont to lie with him. She then rated Odysseus with reviling words:
“Wretched stranger, thou art but a crack-brained fellow, unwilling to go to a smithy to sleep, or to a common lodge, but pratest here continually,
unabashed in the company of many lords, and hast no fear at heart. Surely wine has mastered thy wits, or else thy mind is ever thus, that thou dost babble idly. Art thou beside thyself because thou hast beaten that vagrant Irus? Beware, lest presently another better than Irus shall rise up against thee
to beat thee about the head with heavy hands, and befoul thee with streams of blood, and send thee forth from the house.”