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King Odysseus, the completion of the task that you set me is not far off, for I believe I see a cave like that which you have described.

Above you, or below? I do not see it.

Here, high up—and of footfalls there is not a sound.

[30] See that he is not sheltered there asleep.

I see an empty dwelling, without occupants.

And is there no provision inside for human habitation?

There is—a bed of leaves, as if for some one who makes his lodging here.

And all else is bare? There is nothing else beneath the roof?

[35] Just a cup of bare wood, the masterpiece of a sorry craftsman, and with it these tools for kindling.

His is the store that you describe.

Ha! Yes, and here besides are some rags drying in the sun, stained by some severe infection.

[40] The man inhabits these regions, clearly, and is somewhere not far off. How could he go far afield when his foot is maimed by that old plague? No, he has gone out in quest of food, or of some soothing herb that he may have noted somewhere. [45] Send your attendant, therefore, to keep watch, lest he come upon me unawares, since he would rather take me than all the Greeks together.

The man is going, and the path will be watched. And now, if you need anything else, say so.Exit Attendant, on the spectators' left.

[50] Son of Achilles, you must be loyal to the goals of your mission—and not with your body alone. Should you hear some new plan unknown to you till now, you must serve it, since it is to serve that you are here.

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  • Commentary references to this page (5):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 586
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 218
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 1191
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 1157
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 962
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