So saying the goodly Odysseus came forth from beneath the bushes, and with his stout hand he broke from the thick wood a leafy branch, that he might hold it about him and hide therewith his nakedness.
Forth he came like a mountain-nurtured lion trusting in his might, who goes forth, beaten with rain and wind, but his two eyes are ablaze: into the midst of the kine he goes, or of the sheep, or on the track of the wild deer, and his belly bids him go even into the close-built fold, to make an attack upon the flocks.
Even so Odysseus was about to enter the company of the fair-tressed maidens, naked though he was, for need had come upon him. But terrible did he seem to them, all befouled with brine, and they shrank in fear, one here, one there, along the jutting sand-spits. Alone the daughter of Alcinous kept her place, for
in her heart Athena put courage, and took fear from her limbs. She fled not, but stood and faced him; and Odysseus pondered whether he should clasp the knees of the fair-faced maid, and make his prayer, or whether, standing apart as he was, he should beseech her with gentle words, in hope that she might show him the city and give him raiment.
And, as he pondered, it seemed to him better to stand apart and beseech her with gentle words, lest the maiden's heart should be wroth with him if he clasped her knees; so straightway he spoke a gentle word and crafty:
“I beseech thee, O queen,—a goddess art thou, or art thou mortal?
If thou art a goddess, one of those who hold broad heaven, to Artemis, the daughter of great Zeus, do I liken thee most nearly in comeliness and in stature and in form. But if thou art one of mortals who dwell upon the earth, thrice-blessed then are thy father and thy honored mother,
and thrice-blessed thy brethren. Full well, I ween, are their hearts ever warmed with joy because of thee, as they see thee entering the dance, a plant1
so fair. But he again is blessed in heart above all others, who shall prevail with his gifts of wooing and lead thee to his home.
For never yet have mine eyes looked upon a mortal such as thou, whether man or woman; amazement holds me as I look on thee.