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But still, my maidens, wash the stranger's feet and prepare his bed—bedstead and cloaks and bright coverlets—that in warmth and comfort he may come to the golden-throned Dawn. [320] And right early in the morning bathe him and anoint him, that in our house at the side of Telemachus he may bethink him of food as he sits in the hall. And worse shall it be for any man among them who vexes this man's soul with pain; naught thereafter shall he accomplish here, how fierce soever his wrath. [325] For how shalt thou learn of me, stranger, whether I in any wise excel other women in wit and prudent counsel, if all unkempt and clad in poor raiment thou sittest at meat in my halls? Men are but short-lived. If one be himself hard, and have a hard heart, [330] on him do all mortal men invoke woes for the time to come, while he still lives, and when he is dead all men mock at him. But if one be blameless and have a blameless heart, his fame do strangers bear far and wide among all men, and many call him a true man.” [335] Then Odysseus of many wiles answered her, and said: “Honored wife of Odysseus, son of Laertes, verily cloaks and bright coverlets became hateful in my eyes on the day when first I left behind me the snowy mountains of Crete, as I fared on my long-oared ship. [340] Nay, I will lie, as in time past I was wont to rest through sleepless nights; for many a night have I lain upon a foul bed and waited for the bright-throned Dawn. Aye, and baths for the feet give my heart no pleasure, nor shall any woman touch my foot [345] of all those who are serving-women in thy hall, unless there is some old, true-hearted dame who has suffered in her heart as many woes as I; such an one I would not grudge to touch my feet.” Then wise Penelope answered him again: [350] “Dear stranger, never yet has a man discreet as thou, of those who are strangers from afar, come to my house as a more welcome guest, so wise and prudent are all thy words. I have an old dame with a heart of understanding in her breast, who lovingly nursed and cherished my hapless husband, [355] and took him in her arms on the day when his mother bore him. She shall wash thy feet, weak with age though she be. Come now, wise Eurycleia, arise and wash the feet of one of like age with thy master. Even such as his are now haply the feet of Odysseus, and such his hands, [360] for quickly do men grow old in evil fortune.”

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 3.274
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 3.465
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