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So spoke the herdsman of the sleek cattle. But Odysseus wounded the son of Damastor in close fight with a thrust of his long spear, and Telemachus wounded Leiocritus, son of Evenor, [295] with a spear-thrust full upon the groin, and drove the bronze clean through, and he fell headlong and struck the ground full with his forehead. Then Athena held up her aegis, the bane of mortals, on high from the roof, and the minds of the wooers were panic-stricken, and they fled through the halls like a herd of kine [300] that the darting gad-fly falls upon and drives along in the season of spring, when the long days come. And even as vultures of crooked talons and curved beaks come forth from the mountains and dart upon smaller birds, which scour the plain, flying low beneath the clouds, [305] and the vultures pounce upon them and slay them, and they have no defence or way of escape, and men rejoice at the chase; even so did those others set upon the wooers and smite them left and right through the hall. And therefrom rose hideous groaning as heads were smitten, and all the floor swam with blood. [310] But Leiodes rushed forward and clasped the knees of Odysseus, and made entreaty to him, and spoke winged words: “By thy knees I beseech thee, Odysseus, and do thou respect me and have pity. For I declare to thee that never yet have I wronged one of the women in thy halls by wanton word or deed; nay, [315] I sought to check the other wooers, when any would do such deeds. But they would not hearken to me to withhold their hands from evil, wherefore through their wanton folly they have met a cruel doom. Yet I, the soothsayer among them, that have done no wrong, shall be laid low even as they; so true is it that there is no gratitude in aftertime for good deeds done.” [320] Then with an angry glance from beneath his brows Odysseus of many wiles answered him: “If verily thou dost declare thyself the soothsayer among these men, often, I ween, must thou have prayed in the halls that far from me the issue of a joyous return might be removed, and that it might be with thee that my dear wife should go and bear thee children; [325] wherefore thou shalt not escape grievous death.” So saying, he seized in his strong hand a sword that lay near, which Agelaus had let fall to the ground when he was slain, and with this he smote him full upon the neck. And even while he was yet speaking his head was mingled with the dust.

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load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
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    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 6.390
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