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[715] So he spoke, and departed through the house of Odysseus, and on her fell a cloud of soul-consuming grief, and she had no more the heart to sit upon one of the many seats that were in the room, but down upon the threshold of her fair-wrought chamber she sank, moaning piteously, and round about her wailed her handmaids, [720] even all that were in the house, both young and old. Among these with sobs of lamentation spoke Penelope: “Hear me, my friends, for to me the Olympian has given sorrow above all the women who were bred and born with me. For long since I lost my noble husband of the lion heart, [725] pre-eminent in all manner of worth among the Danaans, my noble husband, whose fame is wide through Hellas and mid-Argos. And now again my well-loved son have the storm-winds swept away from our halls without tidings, nor did I hear of his setting forth. Cruel, that ye are! Not even you took thought, any one of you, [730] to rouse me from my couch, though in your hearts ye knew full well when he went on board the hollow black ship. For had I learned that he was pondering this journey, he should verily have stayed here, how eager soever to be gone, or he should have left me dead in the halls. [735] But now let one hasten to call hither the aged Dolius, my servant, whom my father gave me or ever I came hither, and who keeps my garden of many trees, that he may straightway go and sit by Laertes, and tell him of all these things. So haply may Laertes weave some plan in his heart, [740] and go forth and with weeping make his plea to the people, who are minded to destroy his race and that of godlike Odysseus.” Then the good nurse Eurycleia answered her:“Dear lady, thou mayest verily slay me with the pitiless sword or let me abide in the house, yet will I not hide my word from thee. [745] I knew all this, and gave him whatever he bade me, bread and sweet wine. But he took from me a mighty oath not to tell thee until at least the twelfth day should come, or thou shouldst thyself miss him and hear that he was gone, that thou mightest not mar thy fair flesh with weeping. [750] But now bathe thyself, and take clean raiment for thy body, and then go up to thy upper chamber with thy handmaids and pray to Athena, the daughter of Zeus who bears the aegis; for she may then save him even from death. And trouble not a troubled old man; for [755] the race of the son of Arceisius is not, methinks, utterly hated by the blessed gods, but there shall still be one, I ween, to hold the high-roofed halls and the rich fields far away.”

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