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Now there was in the well-built wall a certain postern door,1 and along the topmost level of the threshold of the well-built hall was a way into a passage, and well-fitting folding doors closed it. This postern Odysseus bade the goodly swineherd watch, [130] taking his stand close by, for there was but a single way to reach it. Then Agelaus spoke among the wooers, and declared his word to all: “Friends, will not one mount up by the postern door, and tell the people, that so an alarm may be raised straightway? Then should this fellow soon have shot his last.” [135] Then Melanthius, the goatherd, answered him: “It may not be, Agelaus, fostered of Zeus, for terribly near is the fair door of the court, and the mouth of the passage is hard. One man could bar the way for all, so he were valiant. But come, let me bring you [140] from the store-room arms to don, for it is within, methinks, and nowhere else that Odysseus and his glorious son have laid the arms.” So saying, Melanthius, the goatherd, mounted up by the steps2 of the hall to the store-rooms of Odysseus. Thence he took twelve shields, as many spears, [145] and as many helmets of bronze with thick plumes of horsehair, and went his way, and quickly brought and gave them to the wooers. Then the knees of Odysseus were loosened and his heart melted, when he saw them donning armour and brandishing long spears in their hands, and great did his task seem to him; [150] but quickly he spoke to Telemachus winged words: “Telemachus, verily some one of the women in the halls is rousing against us an evil battle, or haply it is Melanthius.” Then wise Telemachus answered him: “Father, it is I myself that am at fault in this, and no other [155] is to blame, for I left the close-fitting door of the store-room open: their watcher was better than I. But go now, goodly Eumaeus, close the door of the store-room, and see whether it is one of the women who does this, or Melanthius, son of Dolius, as I suspect.” [160] Thus they spoke to one another. But Melanthius, the goatherd, went again to the store-room to bring beautiful armour; howbeit the goodly swineherd marked him, and straightway said to Odysseus who was near: “Son of Laertes, sprung from Zeus, Odysseus of many devices, [165] yonder again is the pestilent fellow, whom we ourselves suspect, going to the store-room. But do thou tell me truly, shall I slay him, if I prove the better man, or shall I bring him hither to thee, that the fellow may pay for the many crimes that he has planned in thy house?”

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load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), DOMUS
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