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[50] So spoke Antinous, and his word was pleasing to them. Then with crafty mind Odysseus of many wiles spoke among them: “Friends, in no wise may an old man that is overcome with woe fight with a younger. Howbeit my belly, that worker of evil, urges me on, that I may be overcome by his blows. [55] But come now, do you all swear to me a mighty oath, to the end that no man, doing a favour to Irus, may deal me a foul blow with heavy hand, and so by violence subdue me to this fellow.” So he spoke, and they all gave the oath not to smite him, even as he bade. But when they had sworn and made an end of the oath, [60] among them spoke again the strong and mighty Telemachus: “Stranger, if thy heart and thy proud spirit bid thee beat off this fellow, then fear not thou any man of all the Achaeans, for whoso strikes thee shall have to fight with more than thou. Thy host am I, and the princes assent hereto, [65] Antinous and Eurymachus, men of prudence both.” So he spoke, and they all praised his words. But Odysseus girded his rags about his loins and showed his thighs, comely and great, and his broad shoulders came to view, and his chest and mighty arms. And Athena [70] drew nigh and made greater the limbs of the shepherd of the people. Then all the wooers marvelled exceedingly, and thus would one speak with a glance at his neighbor: “Right soon shall Irus, un-Irused, have a bane of his own bringing, such a thigh does yon old man show from beneath his rags.” [75] So they spoke, and the mind of Irus was miserably shaken; yet even so the serving men girded him, and led him out perforce all filled with dread, and his flesh trembled on his limbs. Then Antinous rated him and spoke, and addressed him: “Better were it now, thou braggart, that thou wert not living, nor hadst ever been born, [80] if thou quailest and art so terribly afraid of this fellow—a man that is old and overcome by the woe that has come upon him. But I will speak out to thee, and this word shall verily be brought to pass. If this fellow conquers thee and proves the better man, I will fling thee into a black ship and send thee to the mainland [85] to King Echetus, the maimer of all men, who will cut off thy nose and ears with the pitiless bronze, and will draw forth thy vitals and give them raw to dogs to rend.”

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