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“In Egypt,1 eager though I was to journey hither, the gods still held me back, because I offered not to them hecatombs that bring fulfillment, and the gods ever wished that men should be mindful of their commands. Now there is an island in the surging sea [355] in front of Egypt, and men call it Pharos, distant as far as a hollow ship runs in a whole day when the shrill wind blows fair behind her. Therein is a harbor with good anchorage, whence men launch the shapely ships into the sea, when they have drawn supplies of black2 water. [360] There for twenty days the gods kept me, nor ever did the winds that blow over the deep spring up, which speed men's ships over the broad back of the sea. And now would all my stores have been spent and the strength of my men, had not one of the gods taken pity on me and saved me, even Eidothea, [365] daughter of mighty Proteus, the old man of the sea; for her heart above all others had I moved. She met me as I wandered alone apart from my comrades, who were ever roaming about the island, fishing with bent hooks, for hunger pinched their bellies; [370] and she came close to me, and spoke, and said: “‘Art thou so very foolish, stranger, and slack of wit, or art thou of thine own will remiss, and hast pleasure in suffering woes? So long art thou pent in the isle and canst find no sign of deliverance3 and the heart of thy comrades grows faint.’ [375] “So she spoke, and I made answer and said: ‘I will speak out and tell thee, whosoever among goddesses thou art, that in no wise am I pent here of mine own will, but it must be that I have sinned against the immortals, who hold broad heaven. But do thou tell me—for the gods know all things— [380] who of the immortals fetters me here, and has hindered me from my path, and tell me of my return, how I may go over the teeming deep.’ “So I spoke, and the beautiful goddess straightway made answer: ‘Then verily, stranger, will I frankly tell thee all. There is wont to come hither the unerring old man of the sea, [385] immortal Proteus of Egypt, who knows the depths of every sea, and is the servant of Poseidon. He, they say, is my father that begat me. If thou couldst in any wise lie in wait and catch him, he will tell thee thy way and the measure of thy path, [390] and of thy return, how thou mayest go over the teeming deep. Aye, and he will tell thee, thou fostered of Zeus, if so thou wilt, what evil and what good has been wrought in thy halls, while thou hast been gone on thy long and grievous way.’ “So she spoke, and I made answer and said: [395] ‘Do thou thyself now devise a means of lying in wait for the divine old man, lest haply he see me beforehand and being ware of my purpose avoid me. For hard is a god for a mortal man to master.’

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load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Thomas D. Seymour, Commentary on Homer's Iliad, Books I-III, 2.287
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    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), EURO´PA
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