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“So she spoke, and our proud hearts consented. Then day by day she would weave at the great web, [140] but by night would unravel it, when she had let place torches by her. Thus for three years she by her craft kept the Achaeans from knowing, and beguiled them; but when the fourth year came, as the seasons rolled on, as the months waned and many days were brought in their course, even then one of her women who knew all, told us, [145] and we caught her unravelling the splendid web. So she finished it against her will perforce. “Now when she had shewn us the robe, after weaving the great web and washing it, and it shone like the sun or the moon, then it was that some cruel god brought Odysseus from somewhere [150] to the border of the land, where the swineherd dwelt. Thither too came the dear son of divine Odysseus on his return from sandy Pylos in his black ship, and these two, when they had planned an evil death for the wooers, came to the famous city, Odysseus verily [155] later, but Telemachus led the way before him. Now the swineherd brought his master, clad in mean raiment, in the likeness of a woeful and aged beggar, leaning on a staff, and miserable was the raiment that he wore about his body; and not one of us could know that it was he, [160] when he appeared so suddenly, no, not even those that were older men, but we assailed him with evil words and with missiles. Howbeit he with steadfast heart endured for a time to be pelted and taunted in his own halls; but when at last the will of Zeus, who bears the aegis, roused him, [165] with the help of Telemachus he took all the beautiful arms and laid them away in the store-room and made fast the bolts. Then in his great cunning he bade his wife set before the wooers his bow and the grey iron to be a contest for us ill-fated men and the beginning of death. [170] And no man of us was able to stretch the string of the mighty bow; nay, we fell far short of that strength. But when the great bow came to the hands of Odysseus, then we all cried out aloud not to give him the bow, how much soever he might speak; [175] but Telemachus alone urged him on, and bade him take it. Then he took the bow in his hand, the much-enduring, goodly Odysseus, and with ease did he string it and send an arrow through the iron. Then he went and stood on the threshold, and poured out the swift arrows, glaring about him terribly, and smote king Antinous. [180] And thereafter upon the others he with sure aim let fly his shafts, fraught with groanings, and the men fell thick and fast. Then was it known that some god was their helper; for straightway rushing on through the halls in their fury they slew men left and right, and therefrom rose hideous groaning, [185] as heads were smitten, and all the floor swam with blood. Thus we perished, Agamemnon, and even now our bodies still lie uncared-for in the halls of Odysseus; for our friends in each man's home know naught as yet—our friends who might wash the black blood from our wounds [190] and lay our bodies out with wailing; for that is the due of the dead.”

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